Did you know that 1 in 20 Americans suffer from chronic mental health problems like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression? Moreover, every 1 in 5 Americans knowingly or unknowingly live with a minor mental health condition.
It is a startling statistic and highlights the importance of mental health counselors in the country. Thankfully, awareness of the detrimental effects of untreated mental problems and ways to treat them has been one of the premier jobs of healthcare institutions.
Healthcare providers, NGOs, and governments are stressing the importance of getting help and consulting a mental health counselor more than ever before.
Before we dive into the reasons why you need to consult a mental health counselor, you first need to understand the following:
What Is Mental Health Counseling?
Mental health counseling, also called psychotherapy, is a formal and personalized partnership between a patient and a mental health counselor to understand and encourage corrective behaviors to manage any mental illness.
What Do Mental Health Counselors Do?
Mental health counselors analyze, identify and then treat mental health issues. They provide one-on-one sessions to their patients and work on providing them with ways to actively manage and reduce the impact of the illness on their daily lives.
They design personalized coping strategies for patients that improve their mental well-being. They have the expertise to treat patients dealing with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, personality disorders, eating disorders, etc.
They have all the necessary accreditations and degrees for becoming a mental health counselor. They usually have a master’s in counseling programs and specialize in different domains of mental health disorders. These degrees then prepare them for state licenses for active practice and provide them with professional certifications.
Reasons Why You Should See A Mental-Health Counselor
Here are the top six reasons why you should seek a mental health counselor:
1. Tackling Substance Abuse
As of 2022, about 6 percent of the US population is involved in substance abuse. That is approximately 16 million people. Substance abuse is prevalent in the US, and people have started acknowledging it as a catalyst for many mental health disorders.
Mental health counselors that specialize in helping people deal with substance abuse disorder are called addiction counselors. They give clients personalized strategies to cope with stress and triggers so they can slowly put an end to their addiction. They help them deal with problems that they encounter during rehabilitation and recovery.
They work with clients in individual and group settings to treat them thoroughly. They help clients build self-esteem, patience, and healthy personal and professional relationships. They also work on crisis intervention to ensure that the clients and those around them are safe.
2. Coping With Stress/Anxiety
In the United States, 6.8 million adults suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), while 40 million US citizens suffer from stress on average.
It is highly advised that people suffering from unmanageable stress and anxiety seek professional help in time. Pressure can act as a catalyst for chronic mental health problems and even cause physiological problems, i.e., cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and immune disorders.
A counselor helps you constructively deal with stress. They guide you in directing all that negative energy toward positive and constructive behavior. For example, many counselors recommend exercise as a means to destress.
3. Proper Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness
Diagnosing and treating physical illnesses is relatively upfront; a healthcare provider can rely on test results and obvious symptoms to define what a patient is suffering from.
A mental health counselor, however, cannot do that. They must be thorough and careful, read between the lines, and often do extensive research before diagnosing their clients. They must look at the physical diagnosis and their insight into a patient’s mental well-being. They also have to seek their patient’s physicians to see if their mental condition is due to an underlying physical condition.
They thoroughly study manuals and research papers to ensure that they put their patient on the right path to recovery. Once they diagnose you, they make a personalized treatment plan for your mental illness that you can follow for better mental health. Moreover, they constantly monitor and evaluate the impact of the treatment plan on the client’s life and may even make some changes to make it more effective.
4. Mental Health and The Elderly
Mental health is readily accepted by the elderly, and they are more welcoming to help than most youngsters. A lot of mental health counselors specialize in elderly mental well-being. This field has only recently emerged due to the diminished stigma around mental illness and emotional problems.
Changing their lifestyle, moving to a new place, limited income, and physical disorders are just some factors impacting elderly mental health. A counselor helps them deal with these adjustments more easily.
5. Marriage and Family Counseling
Family and marriage counselors facilitate family members dealing with various mental health dilemmas. These family members have either suffered from or are suffering from emotional or mental stress. Counselors also deal with families suffering from infidelity, abuse, miscarriages, etc.
The counselors work with clients and discuss everything that they have experienced. They ensure that they validate the emotions felt by the client and assist them in dealing with difficult family situations.
6. Motivational Interviewing
Using motivational interviewing, counselors resolve insecurities and conflicting feelings by motivating their clients to bring about a change in their behavior. It is a form of behavioral therapy and is a relatively short-term process.
It dramatically helps patients suffering from cardiovascular, diabetes, and respiratory disorders. It highlights the importance of changing behavior that prevents making healthy lifestyle choices.
The counselor encourages the patient to talk about what they felt post-diagnosis and how changing their lifestyle makes them feel. They then slowly ease them into the conversation surrounding change and commitment.
Mental health counselors actively help their clients that are dealing with mental health dilemmas. They design personalized plans and strategies to help them and are always available to help them. They use research and facts for diagnosis and point out ways to reduce the impact of mental illness on the client’s life.