submitted by Angela Dora Dobrzynski, LPC for Friends Life Care
The stigma around seeking mental health services for older adults has its origins in many places. The idea that people can benefit from counseling to maintain their mental health and prevent mental illness is a relatively new one.
Mental health status describes the degree of our social, psychological and emotional well-being. Good mental health is not the complete absence of emotional disturbance- stress, worry, sadness and anger are all normal parts of the human experience- but one’s ability to manage and cope with those disturbances.
Maintaining mental health status demands a holistic approach, incorporating interventions and practices related to diet, sleep, activity level, social life, spiritual practice, life purpose, financial health, hobbies, interpersonal skills and more. Mental health is one component of overall well-being and is contingent on how the whole person is functioning.
The value of professional help has been demonstrated time and again through research. Accessing mental health support is presently both easier and more difficult than ever. Easier because of online directories, reduced stigma, and virtual accessibility but more difficult because demand is so high that many therapists are not accepting new clients.
Do you know about the national mental health crisis line? Dial 988 to be connected with a mental health professional 24/7 when you need help immediately or have a crisis situation.
Each of us can normalize mental health treatment by attending educational events about mental health issues, talking about our own mental health with doctors, clergy, and trusted loved ones, and by offering a listening ear to friends and family who may be ready to share their own experiences. Most of us will be pleasantly surprised to find that we are not alone.