Mental Illness And Social Challenges: How Therapists Can Help
Part of my mission is to create an understanding of the possible social implications of mental illness. Only a small percentage of patients are hospitalized due to the introduction of anti psychotic medications in the nineteen-fifties. Consequently, thousands of us live with one foot in the world of the normal, seeking to educate ourselves, pay our bills, and live normal lives. At the same time, we have to deal with the reality of our mental health challenges.
So how can therapists help?
1. Counselors can provide a safe place to share our unique experiences with mental health challenges. They can listen as we talk about hallucinations, fears, phobias, and problems with family and friends. Without this opportunity, anger and shame can build to a boiling point.
2. They can teach us effective ways to relate to people such as maintaining eye contact, facial expressions, expressive body language, and a lively affect.
3. They can help us learn our strengths. We are not totally defined by out illnesses. Our gifts also play a role in who we are.
4. They can provide safe places to vent the feelings of hopelessness and rage that can accompany mental illness.
5. They can help us integrate into society. It’s not easy feeling like the odd person out, trying to fit in. A good therapist, who listen empathetically and who refuses to give up on us can help us become integrated into society.
According to the National Alliance For The Mentally Ill, 70-90 percent of patients diagnosed with a mental illness are helped with a combination of pharmacological and therapeutic support.
Therapists/readers: Do you have any input into this subject? I would appreciate comments on this important issue.
I’m Barbara Altman
Raised in an alcoholic home, I became depressed and riddled with anxiety at an early age. In an effort to build a good life, I turned to my love of classical music for comfort, financial resources, and a place in the community. Over the years, I have dealt with depression in a variety of ways, from counseling to alternative and traditional healing modalities. One of the purposes in my life is to convey hope to those who have suffered from depression and I hope to do this in my writings and in speaking engagements.