Debra Bailey Ph.D. Discusses How to Know When to Reach Out for Mental Health Treatment
“Mental health problems are common and often treatable,” says clinical psychologist Debra Bailey, Ph.D. estimates show that around one in five American adults, which is approximately 44 million people, will experience a mental health problem in a given year. Although these statistics may not make it any easier for an individual experiencing mental health problems, they do point to the fact that mental health problems are not isolated.
One common misconception about mental health, says Debra Bailey Ph.D., is thinking mental health problems are mental health disorders. According to the US Surgeon General, mental health problems are signs and symptoms that do not last long enough to qualify as a mental health disorder.
Signs That a Person Needs Help
How can a person tell they need to reach out for treatment regarding their mental health? Although there’s no straightforward answer, there are some qualifying questions that can offer direction.
The first set of questions is about subjective distress. Debra Bailey, Ph.D., suggests that these questions deal with how a person is coping with their current state of life. Questions like:
· Truly and deeply, how are you doing right now?
· Are you living the life you want to live?
· Are you happy and content?
· Is the life you hoped to live what you are currently living?
· Is there anything you would change about your life right now?
· Are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenges you are currently facing?
What these questions aim to discover is how satisfied a person is with their current life and whether they are progressing towards their goals. Although it is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed from time to time, if these feelings persist for weeks, months, or even years, they may be a sign, the person is having mental health problems.
The second set of questions are called social distress questions, explains Debra Bailey Ph.D. and they deal with a person’s ability to cope with social engagements. These questions seek to discover emotional and behavioral challenges a person may be having, which could point to mental health problems. Here are some questions that can help determine this scope of a person’s mental health:
· How much time are you spending with your friends and family?
· Has this changed in the recent past?
· Do you find spending time with others emotionally exhausting?
· Do you experience inexplicable mood swings when with others?
· Are you lately unable to spend time with other people because they make you feel uncomfortable?
Again, it is normal to have these feelings occasionally, but if they are consistent feelings over the course of months or years, you may need to speak to a mental health professional.
Besides subjective and emotional distress, physical distress could also be a sign that you need to see a mental health professional. If you experience symptoms like a constantly pounding heart, indigestion, unexplained diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or feeling shaky and faint, it may point to a mental health problem.
Overcoming the Stigma of Seeking Treatment
According to the US Surgeon General, only around 15% of people with mental health problems seek treatment. Stigma is a major reason why the remaining 85% do not, explains Debra Bailey Ph.D. how can a person overcome this stigma? While it isn’t easy, understanding that mental health problems are common and very treatable should help dispel some of these fears. Also, knowing that treatment can mean a better quality of life should help an individual make the right choice to seek mental health treatment.