Talking about mental health issues can be difficult. Many people are hesitant to reach out for the help they need due to the stigma surrounding mental health. For some people, the thought of talking to people about their mental (and emotional) health is either scary or awkward. When a mental issue is left unaddressed and untreated, it can get worse and lead to other health issues. Getting help is important, and you need help to get better. Here are five ways you can reach out in a mental health crisis:
Talk to people you could trust
Do you have people in your inner circle whom you feel comfortable saying about anything that is in your heart or mind? You might want to first reach out to the people in your life and around you, the ones you find caring, trustworthy, and supportive. They may be your family members, your friends, the people you work with, significant others, and the people in the various communities (church, NGO, etc.) to which you belong. These are the people who may have the most significant influence on your life and the people you choose to have in your life, regardless of how long they have been in your life.
Talk to your general physician (GP)
Every mental health problem has its own list of signs and symptoms. There are common signs that could be a red flag for something that is wrong. Some signs you should watch out for are:
- Excessive fear and worrying
- Low self-esteem
- Confused thinking
- Excessive anger or irritability
- Negative intrusive thoughts about yourself
- Difficulty concentrating/focusing
- Lack of interest in things or not enjoying life as much as you used to
- Wanting to avoid people
- Trouble sleeping
If you have noticed any of these changes over the last few days, you should consider seeing your GP. You might not feel comfortable talking to your GP about any mental problems you may have, but he/she can ask you questions about your feelings and thoughts to help you better understand what you are going through. He/she could recommend lifestyle changes that could help improve your mental and overall health and refer you to a specialist if he/she thinks that would help you.
You need to talk about your feelings, but if you cannot say them aloud, why not write on paper – or go online? If you are able to express yourself better in writing online, visit and post on online forums or social media pages dedicated to mental health or those that include discussions about mental health. You can receive support, advice, and assurance from people going through the same problem as yours, as well as connect with mental health experts online in the most convenient way.
Call a hotline
Aside from getting help online, calling a mental health helpline is a great way to get immediate help. Mental health hotlines are staffed by mental health professionals who can advise you and refer you to the local mental health services.
See a mental health provider
A mental health provider is a professional who diagnoses mental health conditions and provides treatment. Mental health providers may specialize in certain areas, such as depression or substance abuse, and work in different settings, such as private practice, hospitals, universities, community centers, or other facilities. Mental health providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric-mental health nurses, physician assistants, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors.
When finding a mental health provider, make sure the professional you choose is licensed to provide mental health services. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions as finding the right mental health provider is crucial to your wellbeing and recovery.
Don’t wait for yourself to turn into a mess. Reach out for help when you think you need it. Know that you are not alone.
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