Everyone struggles from time to time, and often it can affect your mental health. One in five American adults can experience mental health issues during a single year. However, sometimes people feel very isolated when facing problems or difficulties–especially mental health issues, which can be stigmatizing or shameful for the person who needs help. It is important to understand that feeling alone with your problems might be uncomfortable, and reaching out for support can seem difficult, too. But taking the first step to find support can help provide the confidence needed to move toward a solution. If you are experiencing challenges, try adopting an attitude of curiosity around your issues. How can you find support? Try some of the following suggestions as a starting point.
1. Reach out to loved ones.
It is common to isolate yourself when you are dealing with issues. Although it can be intimidating to open up to loved ones regarding a personal struggle, it is important to consider giving the people who care about you the chance to help you feel less alone with your challenges. Decide which method of communication feels right for you. This may be face-to-face, a phone call, or a text message. Figure out an appropriate time and place for you to open up to your loved ones, when all parties involved have the highest chance of being in a calm, focused headspace. Practice ahead of time what you will say. It may help to provide relevant information you have uncovered while dealing with your problems and examples of how you have been affected. And, don’t forget to manage your expectations of the first few conversations you may have with your loved ones around difficult topics. Be gentle to yourself and understand that developing a support system can take time.
2. Find a group of peers.
Another helpful way of finding support is to locate a group of peers who are dealing with similar issues. Ideally, you will be able to turn to these other people to both receive and provide support for shared challenges. By offering support to others, you can also feel less alone with your struggles. Try searching the Internet for a local or online support group administered by a national organization such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Mental Health America.
3. Check with your employer’s EAP.
Many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that is designed to provide short-term counseling services, work-life support, plus legal and financial guidance to help you and your family handle concerns constructively before they become major issues. These programs typically are confidential, available at no cost, and easy to access for quick intervention. Contact your employer’s Human Resources department or your supervisor for more information on your specific EAP options.
4. Increase your self-care.
Spend some extra time evaluating and leaning into your self care practices. When you are struggling with issues and seeking support, it can be easy to slack on self care habits. Focus on maintaining a healthy sleep cycle so that you are giving yourself the time to unwind and restore; you need downtime now more than ever. Pay attention to what you are eating, and show some love for your future self by eating plenty of fruits and veggies and going easy on the “comfort foods.” High-carbohydrate snacks, excessive sweets, and highly processed meals can be comforting in the moment, but too many of these can make your body feel bad in the long run, which can have a negative effect on your emotions and mental wellness.
5. Contact a mental health professional.
Counseling can be a critical form of support during a time of need. Sometimes, friends, family, peers, or even your own self care simply do not provide the support needed to help you go through difficult situations and come out the other side, ready to move forward in a positive way. Engaging in therapy sessions with a mental health professional can help you find the keys inside yourself to unlock your seemingly immovable problems.
If you have tried implementing these suggestions on your own and find that you need help, don’t hesitate to contact Chenal Family Therapy. One of our licensed mental health professionals can offer the direct support that you need as well as helpful resources and guidance to strengthen your broader support network.
Fax: 888. 816.7916