There’s a big difference between feeling sad and being clinically depressed. Moreover, although anxiety is a normal, natural response to unexpected developments and external stress, feeling anxious all of the time is not. When you recognize the signs of declining mental health, seeking help is essential. Without outside support, many people eventually contend with negative thoughts or the desire to self-medicate in unhealthy ways. The following are five steps that you can take to get rapid relief.
1. Consider Joining a Support Group
There are times when the source of a person’s mental or emotional anguish is easy to identify. For instance, military veterans who are dealing with overwhelming anxiety can often trace their pain back to traumatic experiences that they had during active duty, and their elevated risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
People who’ve survived domestic violence and other forms of prolonged trauma can often associate recurring panic or extended bouts of depression with their pasts. If you’ve recently lost a loved one and can’t seem to progress through the normal stages of grieving, decreases in your mental health are likely tied to unprocessed emotions.
Joining a support group in these instances will put you in the company of people that have a firsthand understanding of what you’re going through. In addition to camaraderie, support groups are also great places for identifying needs-specific tools, resources, and other support services. There are support groups for family caregivers experiencing caregiver burnout, veterans, abuse survivors, and victims of violent crimes. Recent divorcees and those who’ve recently lost their loved ones can find support groups too.
2. Talk With a Family Member or Friend
If you aren’t comfortable joining a support group, consider speaking with a trusted family member or friend. This can be a huge step towards seeking outside help for people who are introverted or wary of the healthcare system. A family member or friend may be able to assist you in overcoming barriers to treatment.
If nothing else, they can provide a sympathetic ear and help you identify the right resources. Often, when people are suffering from progressive mental health issues, they’re also dealing with a lack of motivation, lack of intent, and lack of focus. Taking advantage of your close, meaningful relationships is a great way to mitigate these added challenges.
3. Schedule a Counseling Session
Working with a counselor will help you learn more about why your mental health is declining. Talk therapy is an excellent tool for identifying possible underlying causes of mental and emotional distress, and resolving them. You may be struggling with recent trauma, feelings of hopelessness, or feelings of low self-worth.
For example, going to counseling in Alpharetta, GA can help you with deficiencies in stress management, lack of social support, overwhelming relationship problems, and the anguish of chronic illness among other things. If diagnosis and medical treatment are required for mental illness, a licensed counselor can make the necessary referrals.
4. Discuss Your Concerns With Your Regular Doctor
If you think that you may have a diagnosable mental illness, a good place to seek help is with your regular physician. People who struggle with untreated bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or panic disorder can have a hard time navigating the healthcare system on their own.
These challenges are further compounded when people use alcohol or illicit substances to self-treat. Your primary physician can schedule you an appointment with a psychiatrist and make arrangements for substance abuse treatment if needed. Your regular doctor will ensure that you get both the right care for your needs and overall continuity of care.
5. Call a Mental Health Hotline
When spiraling mental health creates a sense of urgency, it’s best to contact a mental health hotline right away. There are hotlines for people who feel suicidal, those who are contemplating suicide, and those who’ve already engaged in self-harming.
These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and throughout the year. Not only can helpline professionals assist those who are already experiencing extreme distress and suicidal ideation, but they can additionally help callers identify local mental health resources ahead of mental health crises.
You don’t have to wait for a mental health crisis to arise before taking advantage of these services. If you’re struggling with your mental health and cannot find the will to schedule a counseling appointment, or if you’re having a hard time navigating the healthcare system, helpline professionals can mitigate these challenges.
There’s never a bad way to ask for help when your mental health is declining. It can even be beneficial to request help in more ways than one. Although it will likely require you to step out of your comfort zone, seeking outside assistance will enable you to get the treatment you need.