The Importance of Seeking Professional Mental Health Services

Mental health is an important part of overall well-being. However, a persistent stigma surrounding mental illness prevents people from seeking help.

Sometimes, it can be hard to determine whether stress, depression or anxiety is a normal reaction to life events or if something more serious needs treatment. The following information can help individuals decide when to seek professional mental health services.

Identifying Symptoms

Many people with mental health concerns, like depression or anxiety, do not recognize the symptoms until they significantly impact their lives and affect relationships, work, school, sleep, eating, development and coping. A mental health assessment or finding a therapist, such as Doctor on Demand, can identify and treat mental problems before they worsen.

To begin treatment, you must first identify the symptoms. It is best to consult your primary care doctor first. They can determine whether the change in behavior or mood is due to an illness or a stress-related event.

You can also consult a mental healthcare professional such as a psychologist, clinical social worker or psychiatric nursing practitioner. You can find the best mental health services by asking for recommendations from family and friends or using online tools.

Recognizing Problems

Mentally ill people don’t always realize the severity of their illness. Some people may believe that their behavior is normal and, therefore, not something to be concerned about. Others might think they are just “brats.” If someone does not know they need help, they will unlikely seek it.

Recent research has assessed the perceived barriers and benefits of mental health treatment for college students and their attitudes toward stigma. Six hundred eighty-two students from one midwestern university participated in the survey, and results indicated that females reported more benefits to seek help from mental health services than males.

Other barriers to getting help include fear of a negative outcome, stigmatizing beliefs, shame and a preference for self-reliance. Additionally, young Americans lack information on how and where to access care. Rural areas may have limited options, and even urban clinics can have long waiting lists. This is especially true for low-income people, who are less likely to seek mental health treatment than those in higher-income households.

Getting Help

If you notice that your thoughts, emotions or behaviors are affecting your daily life and preventing you from functioning well, getting help is important. Mental health counselors, or therapists, can provide you with support and guidance to treat issues like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Treatment usually involves therapy or medication and can be done in person, over the phone, or on the computer.

Many people hesitate to seek treatment because of the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s important to remember that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and that most people who do seek treatment feel better afterward.

Finding a Treatment Plan

A treatment plan is a document that helps a mental health professional create an individualized approach to care for the individual receiving intervention. The paper provides progress documentation in a strengths-based, constructive and collaborative way.

The plan includes:

  • Basic demographic information.
  • Psychosocial history.
  • Presenting problems.
  • Past diagnoses and treatments.
  • An evaluation of the individual’s well-being.

The plan also outlines what goals and objectives will be worked on in therapy. It is an essential tool for clients and therapists and is required by most commercial insurance companies and MCOs.

When people struggle with their mental health, they need to seek help. A trained professional can teach them tools to improve their quality of life and make it easier to navigate difficult situations. Getting a referral from your doctor is one of the best ways to find a mental health therapist or counselor.

It is vital to seek treatment for mental conditions, no matter your chosen method. There is a treatment for everyone, whether it’s medication, therapy or one of our clinical trials. We encourage you to seek the best solution to help you live a better life.