Imagine a 33-year-old woman. She had just gone through the breakup of a three-year relationship that was even more devastating to her than her divorce almost 10 years earlier. She had lost not only a boyfriend. She had lost her best friend, the one she talked to every day, the one she leaned on. And suddenly, that relationship was gone. The stigma that counseling is for crazy people must take a back seat so that true healing can occur. Seeking counseling is more common these days.
She lived alone, which gave her ample opportunity to dwell on the negatives in her life. The day after Christmas that year was the worst day of her life and she began to contemplate whether or not she even wanted to live.
So for the first time in her life, even though she had faced difficult seasons before, she sought counseling.
For her, there wasn’t any shame. Her mother had been in counseling so she knew her family would understand. She also knew it was the only way she was going to get herself out of the funk of self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. It turns out that she was to face even harsher circumstances in the months ahead so she definitely made the right decision.
Sometimes we need help. Unfortunately, there are many barriers that will keep someone from seeking the help they so desperately need. Whether it is the social stigma, insurance and financial concerns, not wanting to bring up painful experiences, or just plain old embarrassment, many people have trouble seeking the counseling they deserve.
Fortunately, research is showing that more people are willing to seek help at this time than any other time in history. A 13-year-old report by the American Psychological Association stated that in that year nearly half of the households in America had someone in them who sought psychological help. Because of this, it seems that the stigma associated with seeking counseling is starting to dissipate, according to a more recent article from Health & Wellness Magazine. Counseling is not just for people with serious mental health issues anymore. It is something that can help people cope with traumatic events as well as daily stresses that threaten their well-being.
There will always be barriers and probably always be those who scoff at seeking help. But through better education and a willingness to embrace psychological counseling as a needed service for many different types of people and issues, perhaps more of those who need it will be willing to step out and take charge of their own mental health.