Seeking Help – Quick reference guide
We live in a world that has some very unhelpful social constructs that associate seeking help for mental health problems with weakness, when actually this couldn’t be further from the truth. Seeking help requires courage and there is a great deal of strength in vulnerability, not to mention the wonderful example you set for others in normalizing the process of addressing mental health concerns to help with the work of changing attitudes on a much broader scale. So, if you’ve decided that you are feeling less than your best and you want to do something about it, what are your options?
Seeking help can be intimidating, so sometimes getting educated is a great place to start. You can do this by yourself, in your own time, and learning more about whatever it is you’re struggling with can provide a great sense of relief. Beyond Blue and Lifeline both have great websites with lots of fact sheets and short information videos. These are easily accessible resources that will help you feel more informed. The Australian Government’s Head to Health page is also a great starting point, which brings together a lot of resources and organisations in one place, a directory of sorts, to help you figure out what might be the most helpful next step.
If you’re ready to go one step further than just education, and actually start working on making some changes, again, there is so much you can do online if the idea of talking to someone face to face is too intimidating. MindSpot, Moodgym, and the Centre for Clinical Interventions are three of my favourites; these provide free evidence-based self-help workbooks and courses you can work through in your own time to learn the skills and strategies that will help you make changes. Apps are useful too – Smiling Mind will help get you started with quick and easy meditation exercises, and What’s Up uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to help with a wide range of problems.
Even though it might be intimidating, talking to someone about whatever is bothering you is probably one of the most powerful ways of addressing mental health struggles. Friends and family are a great starting point, but your GP is going to be particularly useful in helping identity what you’re struggling with, and referring you on to the most appropriate mental health professional, maybe a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Working with someone one-on-one who can develop a therapeutic relationship with you, assess your symptoms and provide a diagnosis where relevant, and tailor interventions so they are specifically suited for you and your circumstances is absolutely worth the nerves you might feel before that first appointment.
With so many options and resources that are so accessible, and so many potential benefits waiting for you, there’s no reason to wait to find the help that’s going to work for you.
What’s Up – A Mental Health App