By: Stephanie Albertz, MSW, LISW-S, TRCC
Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is recognized each year to bring attention to and reduce the stigma of mental health. Removing the stigma associated with mental health opens the door to support, treatment, and healing for the thousands of Americans who go without each year.
The term mental health is often used negatively as descriptor of an affliction or suffering. But the truth is, we all deal with mental health every day and some of us require support to manage it. Mental health looks like stress, anxiety, depression - things most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It can also look like trauma, PTSD, and suicidal ideations.
The reality is, no matter how small or big your mental health concern is, left untended it can fester and lead to more serious outcomes.
The good news is, by working together we can be the change. We can celebrate those who ask for help. We can normalize mental health care. And we can eradicate the shame linked to mental health.
So how do we destigmatize mental health?
Reducing the stigma of mental health can be done in a variety of ways. Below are a few suggestions to #SilenceStigma but perhaps the best way is to keep talking about mental health.
Silence Stigma Tip #1: Educate yourself and others.
Like most health conditions, mental health concerns can present different in everyone. We often hear the media associate egregious acts with people who “are suffering from a mental health break.” While that account could be true, it also doesn’t mean that all people who have mental health concerns are violent. In fact, that is the minority. Deepening your knowledge of mental health creates space for empathy, understanding, and support.
In your quest to educate yourself it is important to use credible sources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, SAMHSA, and MentalHealth.gov.
Lastly, acknowledge mental health myths exist. Not everything you hear about mental health is true. Know the facts and the myths.
Silence Stigma Tip #2: Stop the shame.
There is no shame in accessing mental health support. We must liken mental health diagnoses to any other medical condition. Can you imagine if people who have diabetes were shamed and judged for taking insulin? Accessing mental health support is no different. We should applaud the bravery of those who have the courage to ask for help and support them in their journey.
Silence Stigma Tip #3: A person is not their diagnosis.
As humans, we made of many parts. Our heritage, biology, culture, education, employment, health conditions, relationships, an endless list of communities and identities to which we belong. We are a sum of our parts, and no single piece of our makeup should be allowed to define who we are as a person.
If you find yourself saying “that schizophrenic person” or “that suicidal person” check yourself. Question yourself. Is that descriptor necessary for the conversation you’re having? If it is, reframe your statement to use person first language. Such as, “a person in my parenting group has depression…”
Silence Stigma Tip #4: Be a support.
When a person comes to you and asks for help, there are three important things you should do:
Once you listen, validate, and believe, ask them what type of support they need. If they are in crisis, ask how you can help them feel safe. Offer to go to an intake appointment with them or drive them to an emergency room. Simply being there for the person is enough.
Silence Stigma Tip #5: Recovery is not a straight line.
There is a reason people say, “it’s a journey” when talking about mental health. A person does not heal or learn to cope overnight. Continue offering support to a person by asking them how they are doing and what they are working on.
If this is the first time a person has sought mental health support, it will take time for them to discover their own path.
Oftentimes people are thrown from their journey when they are triggered by a trauma or experience that led them to begin their journey in the first place. Do not shame the person. Give grace and acknowledge their hard work.
Reducing the stigma of mental health will take the collective efforts of us all. Your participation in fundraising efforts and community trainings for mental health are important and appreciated.
Join the mental health awareness movement – your support is lifesaving.
Stephanie Albertz, MSW, LISW-S, TRCC
Reaching out for help can be one of the hardest things anyone can ever do, but it also takes a lot of
When Your Child Needs Therapy:
Five Commonly Asked Questions, Answered
By The Adolescent Team at Compass Point
When children and teens need therapy, it’s not unusual for caregivers to feel like they have failed. But rather than being a sign of failure, seeking help for your child is a brave act.
Sometimes children and adolescents need counseling, just like adults. They may be suffering from a mental illness, which affects a staggering 1 in 6 youths in the U.S. every year. Or they may need guidance with working through emotional issues related to family, school, trauma or other situations. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them or you. It just means they need the assistance of someone who specializes in helping people overcome their life challenges.
No matter the reason why you are seeking therapy for your child, taking that first step can be scary. Here is a list of frequently asked questions to help you prepare for what comes next.
What Should I Tell My Child About Going to Therapy?
Be open and honest about why they are going to therapy and how you think it will help. At the same time, be sensitive to the worries or fears your child may have. Many children and adolescents think that therapy means there is something dramatically wrong with them. You can help ease this concern by explaining your child that they will learn new skills and tools for coping with their challenges, and that these skills and tools can help them for the rest of their life.
Will I Meet with My Child’s Therapist First?
The first session will be between you and the therapist to freely discuss your concerns and why you think your child needs therapy. If you think your child may be suffering from mental illness, be ready to talk about the signs or symptoms you or others have observed and when they started to occur. Come prepared with questions for the counselor as well. Common questions include:
Will the Therapist Keep Me Updated About My Child’s Progress?
In most cases, you will not take part in the sessions with your child. This is to provide your child with space to open up about things he or she may not be comfortable sharing in front of you. However, most counselors will schedule one-on-one parent sessions to share information and provide guidance on how you can help your child at home.
What if My Child Doesn’t Like the Therapist?
Talk to your child and try to understand why he or she does not like the therapist. Keep in mind it may take several sessions for the relationship to “click.” However, you should always trust your instincts. It may be that it’s simply not a good fit. If that’s the case, it’s OK to move on and find another therapist.
What Can I do to Support My Child?
Commit to making sure your child attends all appointments. We know this can be challenging for working parents and for parents of school-aged children. However, improvement will only be made if your child attends all sessions. In addition, talk to your child’s therapist about specific actions you can take to support your child at home. And finally, be patient. Progress takes time, and you will not see a breakthrough overnight. There may even be setbacks. But over time, you will see a change for the better.
When It’s Time to Get Help
At Compass Point, we have an experienced team of child and adolescent therapists who are ready to work with you and your child. Because we know how important it is to find the right therapist for your child, we will do our best to match you with the best fit from the start.
When you schedule an appointment using our online scheduler, you’ll answer questions about your child’s needs, your preferred location and your schedule. Within minutes, our system will generate a list of available providers who have the skills, capabilities and expertise to help you and your child. It’s that easy.
Take the first step. Call or request an appointment online today.
Four Ways to Determine if a Therapist is the Right Fit for You
by Monica Burbank, MA, LPCC
Therapy helps millions of people every year feel better and achieve more than they thought possible. But it can be intimidating to open up to a stranger. To get the most out of your therapy sessions, you need to feel comfortable talking about and exploring your fears, anxieties and other challenges.
That’s why it’s so important to find a therapist who is a good fit for you. When you find a therapist who is the right fit, it will feel like talking to an old friend. They will challenge you in all the ways you want and sit with you when times are tough.
So how do you know if your therapist is right for you? Unfortunately, there is no all-encompassing checklist. However, here are four general questions you can ask yourself, based on my own experience both as a therapist and as a therapy client
If something feels off, consider talking about it with your therapist. Being open and honest about what you are feeling or experiencing will help your therapist better meet your needs. Keep in mind that it usually takes three to five sessions before you start to feel like you are making progress.
If you still feel like you are not connecting, or if you’re not comfortable talking about it with your therapist, it’s OK to move on. It’s also OK to “shop around” for the right therapist before committing. If you do this, be transparent with your therapist(s) so they know what to expect.
Finding the Best Fit at Compass Point
Therapy should be unique to you because you are one of a kind. At Compass Point, we do our best to connect you with the best fit from the start. When you call or request an appointment online, you will answer a series of questions about who you are and the type of help you are seeking. We use this information to match you with a specialist who can see you within three days at your preferred location.
More than 90 percent of our clients are satisfied with their therapist. But if it turns out that your therapist is not the right match, we can help you find a provider who is a better fit.
Schedule an appointment today.
Monica Burbank, MA, LPCC
These therapists know that going to therapy can be intimidating, because they have sat on that side of the couch
Charles Roberts, ED.D, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or another form of mental illness, you are not alone. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 51 million adults in the U.S. experience mental illness. That’s 1 in 5 adults.
Mental health treatment, including therapy and medication, can put recovery within your reach. There are so many benefits of therapy. But asking for help can be hard. Many people find it scary or intimidating to share their fears, anxieties and other challenges with a stranger.
This is a safe place to start. Our therapists entered this field because they want to help others. Many of them have had their own experience with therapy. They know where you are coming from, because they have sat on that side of the couch.
Here’s what some of our therapists have to say about their own experience seeking therapy.
What was your experience with seeing a therapist?
We therapists have all been on the other side of the room. We have been in therapy, and we know it can be hard to start building trust with a new person. But that's what a therapist is: just a person, like you. We are ordinary people with the extraordinary job of hearing you, feeling with you, and joining you in this moment of your journey.
— Ruth Schrider, MSW, LISW-SUPV
I have sought out counseling for grief, adjustment to this career and life stress. I found it extremely helpful. For the first six months in my career, I sought out counseling just because I was a therapist. This was one of the most helpful experiences for me because it helped me to create appropriate boundaries and it was part of taking care of myself so I can help others.
— Ariana Warren, MS, LPCC
I have absolutely had rich experiences with seeing a therapist both when I was younger and in my middle age. I am a huge proponent of therapy for everyone, provided they are ready to examine themselves and lift blocks to growth, potential and well-being. It is about as worthwhile a goal as I can think of.
— Donna (Dana) Danoff, MSW, LSW
“Since moving to Ohio five years ago, I've seen three different therapists. My last therapist was amazing and really just met me on my level. I think about her a lot, even after a year of no longer going to her office.”
— Monica Burbank, MA, NCC, LPCC
When You Need Help
There are many reasons to seek therapy. Some people reach out to a therapist when they have reached a breaking point and can’t manage their issues anymore. Others find a therapist to help them remove obstacles from moving forward or achieving their dreams. Still others just need someone to talk to.
If you’re ready to ask for help, contact us today. You can call or schedule an appointment online. We’ll do our best to find the right fit, the first time, so that you can get started with feeling better.
Charles Roberts, ED.D, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
Charles is a Supervising Professional Clinical Counselor and a founder of Compass Point Counseling Services. He is licensed as a Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor (LPCC-S), Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Clinical Supervisor (LICDC-CS) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Charles serves as the Clinical Director at Compass Point.
Getting the Most from Your Insurance Benefits at Year End
The end of the year is almost here. If you have met your insurance deductible and out-of-pocket maximum for 2020, the cost of healthcare services could be reduced by up to 80 percent. That’s a big incentive to follow through on making that first counseling appointment—or to squeeze in a few more before January 1.
Not sure if you’ve met your deductible? The best way to find out is by contacting your insurance provider. If the thought of calling your insurance company is cause for anxiety, you’re not alone. Figuring out your insurance plan can sometimes feel like trying to learn another language.
But the more you know about your plan benefits, the more you can take advantage of them. After all, your insurance plan is there to keep you healthy and well. Make sure that it works for you by following these four steps before calling your insurance company:
Schedule your first appointment online
Compass Point is now offering an online scheduling system for new clients, people who are not yet in the Compass Point system and have not seen a Compass Point Provider, to be matched with the best fit clinician, and schedule their appointment online.
You deserve to have someone to talk to who can help you learn to manage your personal
challenges. But it can’t be just anyone. To ensure you make progress, you need the right person. That’s why we do our best to provide the best fit, the first time. Because a good fit can make all the difference in helping you feel better.
When we are struggling, it can be hard to muster up the motivation, focus, and follow-through to secure the support we need. Add to this the fact that the mental health world can be daunting and difficult to navigate - even for seasoned mental health professionals - and the unfortunate consequence is that many people who want and would benefit from treatment end up going without. If you are in need of mental health support but are not sure where to start or are confused about the information you have already found, the following may be useful in guiding your next steps:
Types of mental health care
Levels of mental health care
If you are not sure which type of treatment or level of care is appropriate for you, an initial diagnostic assessment by a qualified mental health professional is a good place to start. The evaluating practitioner can use the information you provide during the assessment to determine areas of need and provide referrals accordingly. Here at Compass Point we offer a service called Care Connect which helps match you to the type and level of care that you need.
Finding a Provider
So, you have a general idea of what is out there in terms of mental health treatment...but how do you access it? Here are some options:
Thinking About Therapy?
How do you decide that now is the right time?
If you wake up most mornings with a sense of dread and discouragement, now is the right time.
If you no longer enjoy things that used to give you pleasure, now is the right time.
If your emotions are controlling you instead of you controlling them, now is the right time.
If you feel withdrawn or disengaged from the important people in your life, now is the right time.
If you can't stop thinking about something bad that happened in the past, and feel "stuck" as a result, now is the right time.
If you are having trouble sleeping, or are no longer motivated to take care of your physical health, now is the right time.
If you are struggling with conflicts in an important relationship, and can't seem to resolve anything, now is the right time.
If your kids' behavior is driving you up a wall and nothing seems to work, now is the right time.
You deserve to find, or rediscover, peace, satisfaction, and connection. You deserve to enjoy and savor your life and relationships. If you don't, maybe now is the right time for therapy.