Finding a psychologist for yourself or supporting someone around you too.
A little over 3 years ago I started seeing a psychologist for the first time as a result of health conditions which lead to the beginning of my ill mental health experience. It has been quite a difficult road, not only for me but my support network around me. I was experiencing dark thoughts and low mood due to health problems accompanied by the general life changes of being a 25 year old woman.
Whether your experience is like mine or something different (big or small), you cannot do it alone… and you don’t have to!
How has getting professional help helped my mental health?
Have you ever caught up with a friend, family member or colleague and they just talk about themselves or you find you don’t get a chance to really talk about what is on your mind? It’s as simple as this, that when you visit a mental health professional (just like you visit a doctor when you have physical problems) they are there to talk about you and support you.
The biggest take home for me was to gain skills and techniques to accept my past and overcome the feeling that my body has failed me and it will happen again. After 3 years, I have not only learnt how to deal with depression and anxiety but I was able to develop and learn practical life skills that I can still to this day pull upon when I am feeling stressed, anxious or just frazzled. Yes there are still plenty of these moments even after seeking mental health support but your awareness and understanding each time will help support your resilience and bounce back for all of life’s changes and challenges.
Who can go to see a mental health professional?
Sorry to state the obvious but 100% of people have mental health, just the same as we have our physical health and anyone can go to get check ups, visit the gym – anyone can seek mental health support too. It is a good opportunity for anyone who wants to ‘learn practical life skills’, or to talk with someone external to your support group without judgement and who will be on your side to just talk, listen and work with you on things that come up in life (no problem is too big or too small).
I personally found a relief in talking to my psychologist not only to give my friends and family a break but to get another perspective, a professional perspective on even the smallest things.
One of the biggest misconceptions of going to see a psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, mental health professional or whatever mental professional help you need is that you have to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety or have a major problem – WRONG!
Seeing a mental health professional is helpful in every sense to just be the best person you can be. Working on your mental health is just as important as working on your physical health. A simple way to do that is to answer – how much money and time do you put towards going to the gym and looking after your physical health every year?
Time to love your body AND your mind!!
Steps so that you can help yourself or someone around you find a psychologist:
- Talk about it, read about it and share it: Bringing up the option in casual conversations, talking about it with those around you just like you would other topics and share real experiences and stories to give others ideas. Maybe even simply sharing this blog post or what you have learnt from this blog post with someone and see where the conversation goes.
- Accepting your mental health is like your physical health: hopefully after reading the above you are a little more open to the idea – it is important to remember that you need to accept that seeing a mental health professional is not a bad thing and being truly open to the experience.
- Identify the barriers: Maybe you think it is too expensive, HERE’S THE FIRST SOLUTION, if you are in Australia we have 10 rebate sessions medicare rebate information here. Whatever the barrier, do some research, speak to those around you and give it time.
- The search is on: just like any dating app it can take some time to see who you like or connect with so give yourself time to call around, email and research different clinics and health professionals. Finding the right mental health professional can take time – it took me 4 months and 3 different psychologists to find the right person but it was the best thing I have ever done and I pull upon the skills I learnt in those sessions still to this day. The happiness and skills you learn outweighs the couple of months to find the right support.
- Ask your doctor: for a mental health plan and reference of psychologists in your area and/or which of them offer medicare rebate. Doctors normally have a list of local psychologists you can visit and try, plus they will help you take the first steps with your mental health plan.
- Follow your intuition: each session you have, stay in tune with yourself to see if you feel comfortable and relaxed – this is a good sign! Things to ask yourself:
- Don’t give up: if you do not keep trying to find someone, no one will – have your own back to find the right professional because when you do you will never look back.
And for those who need a little more time, just bring it up in casual conversation when you feel it is the right time (and it may take 10 times) until they begin to feel more comfortable with the idea. You have taken the first step by reading and sharing this blog.
If they are not open to it now, don’t be disheartened – I have personally spoken with some of the most masculine, anti-psychologist males who are now seeing a psychologist. This was using some of the above tips and by sharing my experience and showing them how easy and accessible it is to go to see someone.
Use these steps as a guideline to when you are helping yourself or someone else, remember to change things here and there to approach the person in a way you think they will respond best. Remember you know them well and at the end of the day all you are doing is trying to help.
We cannot help everyone, but everyone can help someone!
Founder of B.OKideas
Some resources to help you find a psychologist in Australia:
- Australian Psychological Society
- Australian Health Direct Services
- Australian Association of Social Workers
- Occupational Therapy Australia
- Your Health in Mind
- Black Dog Institute