RYAN MCCOMB: Breaking the Stigma: The Importance of Talking About Mental Health

RYAN MCCOMB: Breaking the Stigma: The Importance of Talking About Mental Health

Since May is recognized as Mental Health Month, it presents an opportunity to educate yourself and others on mental health conditions and treatment options and break the stigma surrounding mental health challenges. Talking openly about mental health can reduce stigma over time. In addition, sometimes taking care of yourself means not doing it all by yourself, especially given the pandemic and other crises that have been affecting our world in recent times. Some important messages to remember this Mental Health Month are:

1. Self-care tips, which are suggestions that encourage people to regularly do things for themselves that make them feel good, such as practicing yoga or meditation, are important and can help you take care of yourself during difficult times. However, since self-care isn’t always enough, there are other ways of supporting yourself or your loved ones with mental health challenges. 4. Educate yourself by talking to your doctor or using online resources, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or PsychHub at www.psychhub.com. The more you know, the more you can dispel misinformation or myths that can increase the stigma around mental illness and hold people back from receiving the treatment they need.

■ In addition, a new way of receiving talk therapy is through telepsychology professionals or behavioral health professionals who provide services virtually through telehealth offerings. 5. If someone you know needs help, listening to them in a comfortable and non-judgmental way can be a good place to start. It’s important to genuinely express your concern and avoid blaming, criticizing, minimizing or assuming things about their experience. If you determine that the crisis is an emergency, or the person expresses a desire or plan to hurt themselves you can contact a lifeline center, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to discover resources in your area or encourage your loved one to call.

3. Connect with others and consider talk therapy, which may be an appropriate option for you. Talk therapy may be available from counselors, clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. These providers can help people deal with feelings and behaviors and suggest ways to cope. 2. Talk with your doctor if you are struggling with mental health concerns, especially if you are unsure about the meaning of your symptoms.

Ryan McComb is an M.D. at Southwest Medical’s Pahrump Healthcare Center Individuals may need mental health support for a variety of reasons, including obtaining help during a stressful time or successfully dealing with a life-long struggle with depression or another serious mental health condition. Even if you are just curious about symptoms of anxiety or depression, Mental Health Month is a good time to have discussions about mental health and do your part to break the stigma.

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