According to the National Institute of Mental Health,one in six U.S. adults lives with a mental illness. However, the taboo created in society surrounding the discussion of mental health prevents the transparency of this fact. It is essential that our society grows comfortable with the conversation around mental health to be able to easily provide those in need with the resources and help necessary to assist them in overcoming their struggles. Mental health conditions vary in degree of severity which results in a similar variety of forms of treatment.
A common option for mental health treatment is meeting with a mental health provider, however, there are numerous options within this. Mental health counselors specialize in numerous areas of mental health and provide support to those experiencing mental or emotional distress. Mental health counselors can help individuals to understand their feelings and discover ways to overcome them. Another option is a psychologist. A psychologist differs from a counselor as a counselor helps patients achieve overall wellness while a psychologist analyzes patients from an exact scientific perspective and then treats their individual problems. A psychiatrist is also another similar option, however, differs due to the fact that psychiatrists are certified medical doctors who monitor the physical effects of mental health conditions (i.e. blood pressure) and can prescribe medications unlike counselors and psychologists. Due to COVID-19, all of these providers are available to meet with online through software such as Zoom.
Another option is phone resources which are growing in use. Telemental health care is similar to meeting with providers, however, is much easier and can be more affordable or even free. Individuals can access online health providers through phone calls, text messages, or emails. Some hotlines include: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), The Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741), The National Domestic Violence Hotline(1-800-799-7233), The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP (4357)), and The Veteran’s Crisis Line (call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255).
Another option to treat mental health conditions is apps which can easily be downloaded on one’s device for free. While these apps may help individuals to manage their well being and act as a treatment aid, they should not replace a mental health professional. An example of a helpful app is MoodFit which helps users to track their mood, set daily goals, and utilize helpful meditation and breathing techniques. Another is SAM(Self Help for Anxiety Management)which helps users to try to understand their own mental health challenges and track anxious behaviors and thoughts that they notice within themselves.
Another unconventional option is video games. Certain video games designed to act as treatment for mental health conditions can help those struggling. An example is ‘DepressionQuest’ which aims to help those with mental health issues, specifically depression, understand that they are in no way alone and highlights how it is to live with depression. Another is‘SuperBetter’ which works to build resilience among those battling mental health issues through the completion of quests and activities.
The large topic of mental health encompasses numerous conditions and varying treatments beneath it. What may work for some may not work for others as not everyone with the same mental health diagnosis is the same. If you or a loved one is dealing with mental health issues, please consider the resource options discussed in this article and do further research to identify which treatment is the best fit as there are copious options. There is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help, and in fact, it is encouraged by many including professionals. Coming to terms with the state of your mental health can be difficult, and it is much easier said than done to reach out for help, but once you do it will be so incredibly rewarding. Remember that when it comes to mental health struggles, you are never alone.