Overcoming Stigma One Thought at a Time
You may have already learned about the stigma associated with mental health issues and how this often makes it difficult for people to seek help. Per Health and Human Services (HHS) data, less than half of the adolescents that needed help received any kind of treatment in 2015. Seeking help and engaging in actions geared towards wellbeing, which may include starting therapy, is imperative to our success. Lately we have been exposed to more public efforts in reducing the stigma as many public figures, actors, singers, and other media stars have joined the task of informing the public about their own mental health to convey the importance of seeking the help we all deserve.
Given the many changes that the teen mind and body go through, including changes in hormones and in interests, it is not surprising that sometimes you may feel disconnected from those around you and/or challenged in several life areas. In fact some emotional and behavioral changes, including mood swings, are common during adolescence but if you’re struggling, it’s important that you talk to someone about it.
For many years, I have been helping teens achieve their goals through talking, working through problems and learning skills to deal with challenges. Some skills, including problem solving, relaxation, and communication skills, can help you feel better and help you create a better future with healthier relationships and with achievements across life areas.
What we think, feel and do makes our reality. With some changes in your daily habits you can change your current state and start to feel better and get well! Optimal wellbeing includes having positive self image (thoughts and feelings about yourself) and having some healthy relationships with others (friends, family, or other caring adults), good nutrition, proper sleep, regular exercise, and engagement in enjoyable activities (i.e. sports, art, music, fashion etc.) Thus, what we put into our bodies, whether through hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting, has an impact on our wellbeing.
If you think that you are not ready to contact a Behavioral Health professional, you could start by talking to someone you trust. Usually our go-to-person is a friend, a peer, which may be helpful sometimes but keep in mind that since these peers are usually in our age group and going through similar situations they may not have the resources and information to help figure out the best solution for you. For this reason, I suggest that you consider talking to an adult(s) who has given you good advice, who you can talk to about your emotions, and who can help you figure out what to do. This could be a parent, family member (aunt, cousin, grandparent, etc.), teacher, school counselor, spiritual leader or another trusted adult.
And remember that although it may not seem so now, your discomfort is temporary and some of the solutions only action steps away!