Finding Help in the Mental Health Community by Melayne Spataro

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Within recent years, the topic of mental health has become more talked about than it previously has. I think this is because people are more willing to talk about the things they are going through and are willing to talk to someone else about it. For such a long time, it was kinda looked at as weak if you thought about going to a counselor or a therapist because you couldn’t handle things on your own. If anything, talking to a counselor or a therapist doesn’t mean that you are weak, it just means that you are strong and can admit to the fact that you need help because you can’t do it on your own.

Though it is a bit different for those who are Black and other People of Color (POC) than those who are White. Blacks face issues that they worry that there are mental health care practitioners that don’t have the cultural competency to understand and help with those issues. They also face that stigma of seeking the treatment for mental illness, which is unfortunate.

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Within more recent years, there have been numerous non-profit organizations that have come about that aim to help others who are struggling, organizations including, but not limited to, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and Hope For The Day (HFTD). Both of these organizations have and use the resources that help the people that need and/or want it. The TWLOHA website has resources for getting involved which include getting involved online, the community, professionally, and/or participate and has a section for finding help for a variety of things including, but not limited to, addiction, depression/anxiety, and eating disorders. HFTD has stuff for those who are wanting to get involved, those who want to get educated, those who want to learn about the work that HFTD does, and, like TWLOHA, has a section for those who want/need help.

There are numerous ways to find help for mental health issues, it’s just a matter of finding those resources and what will help the individual person because there are things that may work for one person but those same things won’t work for someone else. Find what works for you and stick with it regardless of what anyone else says, they don’t necessarily know what’s best for you like you do.

If you know someone who is struggling with a mental health issue, there are things that you can do to help them.

One thing is talk with them about it, and while talking with them, remember these things:

  1. Let them share however much they want to
  2. Don’t try to diagnosis them with anything or question their feelings
  3. Be open-minded
  4. Listen carefully
  5. Offer help with getting them in contact with a licensed professional or guide them to somewhere they can get that information
  6. Know your limits
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When trying to be there for someone who struggles with mental health, it’s ok not to know all the answers. It’s alright that you don’t have all the answers, but not the point. The point is somebody is trusting you with something that’s a big deal and that’s not something to take lightly. The best thing to do is just be there for them in any way that’s beneficial to them and be there for them to lean on.

Asking for help is a big step, but it’s the first step to becoming the better version of yourself. Asking for help isn’t always the easiest thing to do but it shows that you know that you can’t do it on your own. Everyone needs at least one person to be there to listen, whether it be a friend or even a therapist or counselor. It’s ok to talk to a counselor or therapist, they are there to help you through whatever you are going through. An added bonus is that they’re somebody who isn’t part of your family or is a friend and they can give a new perspective that you hadn’t thought of before, plus they don’t really know you that well on a personal level like a friend or family member so they’re unbiased about situations in your life.

Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help for a mental health issue. It most likely could be one of the best decisions you ever make in your life.

To Write Love On Her Arms website:

Hope For The Day website:

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