Mental health IS health: Why don’t we treat our emotional health the same way we treat our physical health?
Most of us believe we should see a physician when we're sick.
Especially in this time of COVID, we get really, really nervous when we don't feel well. A lingering cough or runny nose? Headaches for a week? We recognize that "something's not right" and, whether we go to the doctor or not, we take steps to address our symptoms.
So, what stops you from going to therapy the same way you'd go to your PCP if you were sick?
While stigma around mental health is decreasing (and it's about dang time, am I right?!), a lot of people will never make it in to a therapist's office.
There are a lot of reasons behind this: not having health insurance or not being able to afford private pay as more therapists (myself included) move away from a broken insurance system that does not compensate providers fairly; not finding a therapist that looks like you (only about 5% of psychologists are Black, while 4% are Latinx); fears about judgment from your family or friends or worse, your therapist; not having paid leave from your job; competing priorities like care giving responsibilities and employment; or maybe it's a lack of anonymity if you live in a rural area where everybody knows everybody.
A shift to telehealth is addressing some of these problems; about 75% of therapists have taken their practice virtual since March. But, almost half of the country reports deteriorating mental health due to the pandemic.
Mental health smart phone app use is on the rise but some of the services offered on these apps aren't scientifically proven to help, and there aren't many regulations around app development. This means your private information might be shared or important information provided on the app might be incorrect.
So, how do mental health professionals like me support our communities at a time when more people than ever are struggling?
I'm still getting people outdoors to move their bodies and talk it out with hike therapy, and I've also increased access to therapy with video sessions.
But what if you're not feeling therapy and you just want to learn more about how to build solid mental health habits?
Self-paced, low cost, digital courses and small group coaching packages might be right up your alley. While these modalities are not a substitute for therapy, I think they can meet people where they're at right now, in these really unique times we're all in.
I'm going to be launching a course soon, and I'd love to know what health topics you'd be interested in learning about. Shoot me an email here.
What would help you NOW? What information do you need to move you towards healthier living, both physically and emotionally? I'd love to hear from you and offer some support.
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you're struggling with.
We are in this together.