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We all face daily challenges in today's complicated and demanding world. ACA’s Counseling Corner Blog offers thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life.

Columns can be reprinted in full or in part with attribution to the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.


Aug 08, 2018

Good Mental Health - No Different Than Good Physical Health

Seeing a physician isn't embarrassing if we have the flu, a high fever, or other serious health problems.  No one will criticize us for seeking medical help for a physical health problem and, indeed, most people would fault us if we didn't seek medical help.

Yet we often find that mental health issues bring a very different reaction.  People sometimes see mental illness not as a health issue, but as a serious defect, something that marks a person as weak, unstable, perhaps even violent or dangerous.

Such reactions have serious consequences for millions of Americans who could be healthier and happier if they were receiving the mental health help readily available. But many don't seek such help out of fear of being "labeled" with a mental illness, feeling family and friends won't understand, or that it could lead to discrimination at work or school.

Too many people who could use help instead see their condition as a sign of personal weakness. They may mistakenly believe that they should be able to control whatever is wrong without outside help.

The American Counseling Association works to educate the public, correct this misinformation and encourage people to seek needed treatment. For example, researchers estimate that one in eight U.S. adolescents is suffering from depression. Each day an estimated 3,000 young people in grades 9 to 12 attempt suicide, yet only 30% of young people facing mental health issues ever receive any type of treatment or intervention. This lack of treatment helps lead to more than 4,600 suicides by young people each year. The statistics are even scarier among senior citizens and our military veterans.

It's vital for people to recognize that mental health issues are not a reason for shame, but rather a condition that requires treatment by a professional. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, social phobias and similar problems are not a sign of personal weakness. They are simply conditions that, when treated successfully, can result in a happier, healthier and more productive life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health issue, don't give in to the stigma, but rather take action for better health. Talk to a friend or family members about what's bothering you and look into assistance from a mental health professional.  Seeking mental health help is not a weakness; it's as logical and right as seeing a doctor for that flu.

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  1. 4 Warren Schaeffer 14 Aug
    We have to recognize mental illness is something that we should not be ashamed about, but is something we should recognize and have awareness about. In doing so, if we recognize it we can get proper treatment that can result in happier as well as healthier and productive lives. 
  2. 3 edwin Wanjiku 17 Aug
    We need to embrace mental health as an intervention like any other medical approach.but how often we devalue those seeking or in need of the services
  3. 2 Georgia Bartlett 17 Aug
    This is a very good article and is very true. There are so many people who are actually troubled thinking there is something wrong with them but they don’t know why. I’ve advised many that there may be an inbalance in the body somewhere and that they should go tell the doctor what is troubling them and what has happened in the last year or two. Those who follow this advice have many times come to me saying what the doctor gave them a prescription for this or that and after a few days or a few weeks they’ve felt so much better. They can then go about leading a more productive and happier life. It is sad that so many people in this day and age still feel that there is something wrong with them and do nothing about it because of the misconception of the past.
  4. 1 Uduak 20 Aug
    I like to liken mental health care to getting regular tune-ups on your car.  One should not wait until there is a diagnosis to seek a therapist since the routines of daily living and the many hats that we all wear are stress inducers.  A therapist is someone who is trained to walk alongside us and help us process life's issues in a positive way.  Looking at it this way would go a long way towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health needs.


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