If your stomach hurts, or your tooth hurts, you likely seek professional help or at least find something to soothe the symptoms until you can get it. We don’t just let physical symptoms worsen without addressing them, so why do we do that when it comes to our mental wellness? So many people go about their lives living with depression, anxiety, and mental illness, believing that that’s just the way life must be. Really – it’s a lot of people, as research has found that 60 percent of youth who struggle with depression receive no professional help whatsoever, there was an increase of 1.5 million Americans experiencing mental health symptoms during the pandemic, and the percentage of adults stating they need mental health treatment but are unable to receive it has not decreased in a decade.
Society can have a way of telling people that mental health doesn’t have to be a priority, and as a result, they don’t prioritize it which, sadly, can make symptoms increase immeasurably. Mental wellness can be achieved and maintained when prioritized, but the longer it goes ignored, the harder it can be to get back on track. That’s why Mental Health Awareness Month is so important. It provides an opportunity to look at these statistics and make a game plan on how to do better as individuals, and a society. We decided to speak to Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist, neurotherapist, and author of The Couch Experience: A Guide to Good Therapy as well as the creator of The Couch Experience: Therapy Cards. Dr. Jackson explained to us some misunderstandings about managing mental health, and what one can actually expect if they seek therapy.
How should one approach therapy?
We asked Dr. Jackson how she often sees people approach therapy, compared to how she wishes she saw people approach it. Dr. Jackson says, “For some there may be barriers such as cost, stigma, myths about treatment, and lack of culturally competent care that impact the process before it ever begins…I wish for people to become more educated about therapy, what it is, symptoms of common mental health issues, and knowing when therapy may be needed for themselves or a loved one.” What she says she often sees instead, is individuals who aren’t fully aware of what services are available to them, or how to vet a therapist, so they “Settle for the first person that calls them back.”