There is much more awareness of mental health but there is little emphasis on it. How do we as individuals stay mentally healthy? As a counsellor with many years of experience, I believe that it is important to look after yourself mentally, to prioritise your emotional well-being.
Self-care, whether it is resting, taking up a hobby, eating healthily, exercising or connecting with others is vital to staying emotionally healthy. It is very easy to talk yourself out of making an appointment with a GP or therapist, saying you don’t have the time or it is expensive, but it is important to break down those barriers to ask yourself what is really stopping you? Is it fear, stigma,cost, or accessibility?
Many therapists, like myself offer evening appointments where there is a safe place to unpack those fears. Many employers are part of an Employee Assistance Programme, which is free for the client. Also, GPs have a wealth of local knowledge about services, as well as medication. Local charities can offer a good starting point, as can national organisations specialising in mental health.
People with depression or anxiety, which are two of the most common mental health issues, often turn inwards, going out less and withdrawing, as the outside world seems scary or overwhelming. If you identify with this please speak to a family member or friend. Ask them to help you look for support. Both anxiety and depression respond well to talking therapies as well as medication.
If your mental health is affected by or is affecting your relationship or family, there is also help available and this can help keep families or relationships together. Parenting and step parenting can both be stressful and I have many years of experience working with families.
Both anxiety and depression respond well to talking therapies as well as medication. Also, alcohol or drug use ( including prescription drugs), gambling, gaming, and spending can all be be supported by therapy before they adversely affect your health or emotional well-being.
Although these are the most common reasons why people seek help to keep themselves emotionally healthy I have also worked therapeutically with loss, anxiety, trauma, identity, food issues, chronic conditions, neurodiversity, personality disorders, family breakdown, adoption, IVF, bereavement, confidence,self-esteem, abuse, divorce and panic attacks.
I believe therapy is an integral part of helping couples or individuals to help regain control and make healthier choices when they are feeling lost or low. I believe that therapy, along with medication and self care, can help to keep people emotionally healthy.
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Alison Jones is the owner of AEM Counselling, based in Wigan. Alison is person-centred counsellor with many years experience working therapeutically with individuals and couples.
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