Taking a More Proactive Approach to Mental Health
Whenever we, or our children, have a serious health condition like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease we typically address it as early as possible with the proper healthcare professional. Our mental health is a key, but too often overlooked, component of our overall health. We should take the same approach to our mental health that we do for our physical health. We should engage in good preventive activities and, when an issue becomes apparent, address it as early as possible with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional. The organization Mental Health America has a great campaign going that captures this idea beautifully. It is called the “B4Stage4 Philosophy”. Their YouTube video linked here does a really nice job of describing the philosophy. The idea is that when you or your child first begin to experience the symptoms associated with a mental health challenge those symptoms should not be ignored in hopes that they will just resolve themselves or go away. Too often we wait until the issues become significantly disruptive, “Stage 4”, before seeking help. It is important to address the symptoms right away, work with a psychologist or other mental health professional to determine the nature of the underlying problem, and put a plan of action together to put you or your child on a path to improved mental and overall health.
Some early warning signs can include:
· Too much or too little sleep
· Difficulty focusing or racing thoughts
· Changes in appetite (eating a lot more or less than usual)
· Isolation from others or a loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyed
· Irritability or a short temper
It is time for us to take a more proactive approach to mental health care. Garrison Psychology and Counseling Services can be a resource to you. If you have any questions about how working with a psychologist can help address mental health symptoms before they hit “Stage 4” please give us a call to schedule an appointment.