Mental health is becoming on of the most discussed topics around the world because of its impact on people’s lives. It’s only in the last years that people have come to realize how important mental health is and how much it influences your performance at work, family life and how satisfied you are with yourself. What may come as a surprise for many of you is that mental pain is as real as physical pain. Scans of the brain have shown that mental pain is experienced in the same areas of the brain as physical pain, often being more disabling than physical pain. Yet these two types of pain are not treated equally.
For example, someone with physical symptoms might go straight to the hospital and receive immediate care, while a person that seems to show mental illness is regarded as not being an emergency. What people do not know is that mental illness affects physical health as well, and it can make it worse than before. For example, studies have shown that people with depression are more likely to develop heart and lung disease, asthma and arthritis. Still, the main focus of the healthcare system is on physical health and very low on the mental health.
I must admit that there are many opportunities for people to get mental health treatment today, at least in UK. There are a number of agencies that provide low-cost therapy, there is the NHS that offers free counselling sessions and there are also private practices that offer great support. Even so, people are still reluctant to access these services because:
- Their GPs can prescribe pills, so it makes it easier for them to get some sort of help, even though this is not enough.
- Stigma – people are still ashamed of having a mental illness while people with a broken leg or a heart condition are not. Most people try to hide their mental health condition.
Although years ago people would hardly understand what a mental health condition is and how they can be of help in these areas, nowadays things are quite different. People are more understanding and sensitive when it comes to mental health issues. I believe it’s our job as therapists, psychologists, counsellors and all other related healthcare jobs, to educate and pave the way for people who need emotional support. Also, people that struggle with this should access the services I’ve mentioned without having any doubts of being judged or labeled a certain way. Why? Because you will receive the appropriate help that will help you cope with your condition and your situation can improve, not to mention that you could actually become free from your condition.
I encourage you: seek professional help without being ashamed because at one point or another, we all face emotional issues. The difference is some have the courage to talk about it and get the right support. So should you!