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Stigma, Stigma Go Away
by Karla Lewis

Faith & Inspiration | October 13, 2019

One of the major concerns that I have as a Therapist is the stigma that seems to surround mental health and people who seek mental health services. That stigma seems to stop people from seeking the mental health services they need and it shouldn't. Anyone
by Karla Lewis

I believe that the stigma stems from the images people see on television and social media about therapy

Those images are often very negative but also very far from what participating in counseling is actually like. Commercials or TV shows often depict mental health professionals as eccentric, deranged, or aloof and uncaring themselves. TV also depicts people who seek services as "crazy" and none of this is the actual truth. The recent new Popeye's chicken sandwich commercial even got in on the deprecating therapy action!

While mental health services help people who have existing mental health diagnoses such as Bipolar Disorder and PTSD, counseling can also be useful to people who are simply experiencing life transitions such as moving, going to college or becoming an empty nester. Therapy can also be appropriate for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one, a relationship conflict, or even work stress.

Sometimes I wonder if people would feel more comfortable seeking services if counseling were called something else. Maybe it could just be called support because essentially that's what counseling is-additional support to assist people with life's challenges. As a Therapist, it bothers me that society considers it okay for people to get tutoring when they need help with math but it's not as socially acceptable for people to get help for their spirit, emotions, or mind.

In addition, a person hesitating to get help can compound the issues and stress the person is experiencing making things that much more difficult when he or she actually goes to therapy. Further, people who don't seek help when they need it can end up having health and medical issues as a consequence or even start having suicidal ideations.

Ferren Family Counseling

It is essential for people to educate themselves about the facts surrounding mental health. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be impacted by a mental health issue in their lifetime. Another important fact is that people who do seek mental health services report decreases in their symptoms such as depression and anxiety and generally report feeling better. Clients also report that they feel more supported and not so alone.

Clients who have seen me have said that they felt a sense of relief and that a weight was lifted off their shoulders. They have also stated that they wish they'd started going to counseling years ago. Simply having someone objective to talk to can help provide the support that people need.

According to Psychology Today, people should consider seeking mental health services if they don't feel like themselves, they've started abusing substances or abusing activities like gambling, they've experienced loss or something traumatic, or they've stopped doing activities that they normally enjoy. Additionally, changes in appetite or sleep patterns can also be signs that something needs to be addressed.

If you or a loved one needs mental health services, please feel free to call Ferren Family Counseling Center at 901-498-9126 where a variety of counselors are there to assist you and give you the support you need.

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