National Minority Mental Health Month is celebrated in order to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities’ face regarding mental illness in the United States. Our hope is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health services especially to those underserved populations of racial/ethnic, gender and sexual minorities who often suffer in silence.
How to reduce stigma and begin to get professional help:
- Begin to Talk about it. Everyone has problems. If you are having trouble it is best to remember to talk openly with those that you trust and who are supportive. Your family, friends, clergy or members of your community can offer you support if they know what is going on. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and the understanding you need.
- You are not your diagnosis. Your emotional symptoms are what you are experiencing in the moment but you are made up of far more components than simply your diagnosis. Receiving professional help does not make you “crazy”. Counseling allows you to receive judgement free guidance and support from a licensed professional who has spent years dedicating their career to helping others. In addition therapy is not “forever” – it is for the moment in order for you to receive coping skills to practice and use in the real world to gain control over the emotions that are weighing you down.
- Get help at school. If you or your child has a mental illness that affects learning, find out what plans and programs might help. Talk to teachers, professors or administrators about the best approach and resources.
- Talk openly with your regular doctor/pediatrician. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to understand what is occurring and guide you to further treatment if needed. A majority of counseling referrals are obtained from PCP’s and pediatricians. Simply ask and they can help.
- Find counseling resources in your area. Call your insurance company to ask about in-network counseling referrals that way you are clear about how much the services will cost per session. In addition if you do a Google search you can also find free to low cost counseling alternatives.