Early Signs of Mental Health Problems and How to Get Help | Health

Cold and cough? You would see a doctor soon. Have you been feeling low or fatigued for six months? You would probably blame yourself. The truth is that seeking professional help for dealing with mental health problems is unfamiliar territory for most and people tend to dismiss these problems because they think they are making a big fuss about a minor problem or that it’s all there is to it. should be in their heads. They would also likely be concerned about how their family and friends would react to therapy.

Also, as with other health problems, understanding psychological problems is not that easy and the symptoms are not always obvious. They may also be unwilling to spend time and money on their mental health, as this is not a priority for most.

Debasmita Sinha, psychologist and clinical director of Manah Wellness, talks about some of the common symptoms that someone needs to see a mental health professional.

“Long-term emotional health issues (usually two weeks or more) should typically be discussed with a mental health professional. These issues include low mood or sadness; anxiety/inability to relax; brain fog or focus problems; unexplained fatigue/difficulty starting or getting through the day; suddenly feeling disinterested in things that were previously pleasurable; having thoughts of harming or ending life; or an unexplained change in appetite and/or sleep,” says the psychologist.

The mental health expert says that while your emotional health isn’t interfering with your day-to-day functioning or your professional responsibilities, it does indicate that something needs attention. She stresses that, like all ailments, mental health problems, if detected early, would increase your chances of recovery.

Even coping with difficult events requires help

Another sign that you need to see a mental health professional is that you cannot handle a difficult life event on your own. Even the healthiest people can struggle with stressful events or transition periods in their lives. Getting professional mental health support at the outset can help you absorb the emotional shock and prepare to deal with the distress associated with these events.

“If you’ve lost a loved one, are going through a divorce or breakup, have gone through a stressful move or new project, or have endured physical or mental abuse, you may need help,” says Debasmita Sinha.

Why do some people postpone seeking professional mental help?

Here are some common doubts people have about seeing a mental health professional, which can slow down their treatment process:

1: “I don’t want others to know that I’m seeking counseling/therapy”

Fact: Social stigma about mental illness is a result of low awareness. Fortunately, this is changing and society is gradually starting to accept more people with mental illness. Every Indian citizen has the right to good health (including mental health) and the right to access quality mental health care under the law. Such services are required to be completely confidential so that patient privacy is not compromised. So go ahead, exercise your right… the law is on your side!

2. “I don’t need an outsider to solve my problems”

Fact: If you need surgery or other specialized treatment, see a doctor trained in that particular condition. Likewise, a mental health professional is trained to deal with the various determinants of mental health and can help you overcome your problem in a systematic and holistic manner.

3. “I don’t have the time/money for psychological counseling/therapy”

Fact: Taking time to deal with emotional issues will help you in the long run as it prevents the suffering from snowing further, which could further extend treatment and recovery time. If your budget is holding you back, there are plenty of free or affordable therapy platforms.

Who can you turn to as a psychiatrist?

Once you’ve decided to consult a professional, you need to figure out who best suits your needs. Here are some different types of mental health professionals.

Counseling/Clinical Psychologists: These professionals have at least a master’s degree in psychology. They are trained to identify mental illnesses, perform psychometric assessments, and treat the conditions using psychotherapy. Professionals with an MPhil in clinical psychology can also diagnose people.

Career counselors: These are people with a degree in counseling or specific conditions and can provide guidance and counseling in those areas, for example education, marriage or career. They usually do not identify or diagnose conditions outside their area of ​​expertise.

Mental health social workers: These people have a master’s degree in social work, specializing in mental health. They provide support and first aid and work as part of social impact communities or organizations.

Psychiatrists: These are doctors, with an MD or a degree in psychiatry. They are trained to diagnose patients and prescribe drugs. They may or may not be trained in psychotherapy.

Psychotherapists: These are clinical or counseling psychologists who have completed additional training in addition to basic psychotherapy. Usually they will specialize in one or more forms of psychotherapy.

All these professionals do not work in isolation. Since patients may require a combination of medication, counseling, or therapy, it is quite common for psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists to work closely together to create the optimal treatment plan for the person.

(With input from Debasmita Sinha, Psychologist and Clinical Director, Manah Wellness)

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