There Are More Options Than You Think.
Most of us feel good when we are helpful. Each of us at some point is able to put our own interests and needs aside in order to reach out and give aid or support to another person. It can be in the form of assisting a child with a homework assignment, taking a family member to a doctor’s appointment, or supporting a friend through a difficult situation. When an individual goes through an emotional hardship, we often lend an ear or support them with our friendship and love. If the problem becomes more than we are equipped to handle, one of the ways to further assist them is to obtain the help of a mental health professional.
Many people hesitate at this point. It may be out of embarrassment, lack of knowledge, or because they don’t realize what is behind the tears or rage. We may want to ignore the behaviors, deny the symptoms, or try to convince ourselves or another that we just need to “buckle down”. Although coping skills help, there are times and conditions that require more. The advantage is that even in a rural setting, there are a variety of mental health professionals to call upon.
It may be a psychiatrist at a clinic, a nurse practitioner in psychiatry, psychologist, social worker, or a pastoral counselor to name a few. Each of us has a different need and each type of counselor helps in different ways. There is no such thing as “one size fits all”. Whether the problem is the emotional stress of a divorce, an eating disorder, addiction, or symptom of a mental illness, there are individuals and agencies ready to help. These resources can help to identify the concerns and assist in the creation of a recovery roadmap.
It may be easier to describe the symptoms and/or problems to your family physician or clergy. They may have a suggestion about the type of mental health professional you should call. In addition, you can also call your local county’s Mental Health Department, your county’s Mental Health Association, a family services agency such as Catholic Charities, a marriage and family counselor, the Psychiatric Unit of a general hospital, or the local hotline. Each one will be able to listen to your concerns and give you options for treatment.
The process of recovery may include a variety of therapies, medication, and/or support groups. Some individuals may be hospitalized for a period of time. All of this depends on the problems and severity of symptoms. The key is to build your knowledge of the resources available. The goal is to get help before the situation becomes a crisis. Our agency is available to assist you in your decision making.
Director of Community Services
Genesee County Mental Health Services