Many times, as individuals, when we encounter difficulties in our life, we try many different modalities to get help such as looking for information on the internet, talking to friends and family, or coworkers. Although it is great to seek advice and support from loved ones, sometimes, this could keep us from seeking help from experienced professionals. This treatment delay sometimes can lead to detrimental outcomes (e.g. not being able to go to work/complete daily responsibilities because of being depressed).
How do I know I need professional help?
There are certain factors that we as professionals seek as we see evaluate individuals with mental health issues. These are the same factors that you can use to guide you into seeking services. These factors are the frequency, severity, duration of the problem, and in cases of children, also age appropriateness of the problem. Additionally, family history needs to be taken into consideration. For example, if an individual is experiencing anger issues, ask yourself the following questions: How often do I feel angry/irritable? How angry do I feel? Do my anger issues affect my functioning (e.g. job, relationships)? How long have I experienced these issues? Do anger issues run in my family? In cases of children, is my child displaying anger issues more than what you would expect from same-age children? Do my child’s problems affect his/her daily functioning (behavior at school, home, extra-curricular activities)?
Do we always need to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy?
The answer is no. Many people seek therapy to help with their day-to-day struggles such as relationship problems, stress in their jobs, stress in their roles as parents. Some people will also seek therapy during difficult times such as loss of a family member or divorce.
We believe that just like we need primary medical care, we all need to establish a mental health clinician who can help us with our day-to-day stress in our lives. All of us feel stressed out at some point and reach a point where we are struggling to problem solve and need an unbiased outsider look at our issues. A good mental health clinician can help you become stronger and can collaboratively lead you reach your goals.