Throughout our lifespan we face a multitude of challenges, some of which will be more difficult to shift than others. Usually these are the ones that necessitate us seeking professional supports and advice.
Mental health professionals are highly skilled, empathetic and will be able to tailor a treatment plan to fit your presenting needs to help you identify your problems whilst providing relevant coping strategies and recommendations to address these concerns.
It can be daunting to seek help and often there is an uncertainty about what issues warrant you engaging help through a professional and working in private practice I find the most common reasons people seek help are to address:
- Anxiety, trauma and depression
- Relationship and/or family concerns
- Alcohol and other drug concerns
- Domestic violence
- Grief and loss
- Adjustment issues regarding life transitions
- Occupational stressors
I encourage you adopt a preventative approach and reach out for help upon noticing difficulties concentrating, shutting or slowing down your mind and experiencing bouts of emotional discomfort.
I’ve collaborated some key indicators communicated by my patients that prompted their help seeking which may be a good measure as a reference point inclusive of:
- Consistently spend most days each week feeling unhappy, anxious, teary or flat usually three to four out of seven: seek help
- Persistent insomnia, find yourself tossing and turning, struggle to sleep or fall asleep whereby you wake constantly due to an inability to shut down your mind
- Suffered or been exposed to a significant stressful event such as a but not limited to an accident, loss of income, marriage breakdown, death of a loved one, etc
- Irritability and inability to regulate your emotions and find you are verbally aggressive or act in aggressive manner that is out of character due to feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed
- Struggle to prioritise, maintain our commitments, workloads, and other demands across our lives
Good news is mental health access is more available through the options online, telehealth and or face to face sessions.
I am finding an increasing demand for Telehealth and Video Sessions as it allows you to remain in the comfort of your own home and or if you work away, access sessions from work locality.
Telehealth is conducted via telephone and or online via the providers website so you will need to seek clarity as to whether a call will come to your mobile or you need to be logged in online.
Video sessions are done online so you need access to a computer, iPad or can use a mobile phone with inbuilt camera and microphone.
Sessions are usually conducted online via the services website or if you access a sole mental health professional, they may send you a link to access session via platforms such as Teams, Zoom or Skype.
Next, but critically it is essential you feel safe and comfortable or you are unlikely to disclose your concerns and recommend assessing if they are a good fit for you in your first session.
As if it isn’t, its likely you will discontinue and or become awkward resulting in superficial engagement as if there is a disconnect it’s incredibly difficult to be vulnerable, open up and discuss sensitive content.
If it is a good fit, work collaboratively with mental health professional to discuss:
- Areas of concern, what are your key concerns?
- Treatment goals, what are you wishing to achieve?
- Potential barriers, are there any area of sensitivity?
- Delivery, what is your preferred method delivery telehealth, face to face or video?
- Frequency and availability, are you available, during business hours, after hours, weekends and can you commit to weekly, fortnightly or monthly sessions?
Lastly, if you feel that treatment modalities utilised in session aren’t meeting your needs, please communicate this ensuring adjustments to ensure you get most out of your sessions as this will ultimately empower you to facilitate positive change allowing you to live your best life!
- Kym Marsden is a Queensland-based Indigenous forensic mental health coordinator