Sunday, May 18, 2014

Talk About Mental Health

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For hundreds of years, mental health has long been talked about in hushed tones.

Is it any wonder, when we started out treating it as possession by evil spirits? Ancient skulls have been found with holes knocked in them to let out the demons. If this was the method of treatment, I'd keep any abnormal thoughts to myself, too, to avoid having to "get better" that way.

Then, society progressed and we started calling things like "hysteria" by terms like "illness" and applied a medical model. Unfortunately, that primarily consisted of locking people away in sanitariums where they were removed from public view and not much was done to help the patients get better except to add sunlight and rest.

Leaps and bounds later, we have many kinds of therapies tailored to the symptoms they treat. Even our justice system is doing a decent job of acknowledging mental illness and attempting to restore competency before someone can stand trial.

Mental health issues are common. 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year (NIMH). Life throws stuff at us constantly and it is okay to get overwhelmed and need and seek help. People are getting better all the time.

So why aren't we talking about mental health? Why are therapists forbidden from the same perks that doctors have in terms of referring patients to one another and advertising their services openly? Why is secrecy (AKA confidentiality) such a big deal with therapy and not as much with other medical services?

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want you to challenge the status quo and speak up for mental health. Tell someone you trust what you went through and how you overcame it. Tell someone that you took medication for a period of time, or still do. Start talking so someone who is suffering will feel they can open up and share their struggles, and get better.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

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