TERRE HAUTE —
Don’t be afraid to seek help
May is Mental Health Month, a time to shed light on the significant impact mental health issues have on both individuals and society. When I use the term “mental health issues,” I am talking about conditions as simple as the reaction to a divorce or job loss, to more complex conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
About a quarter of the U.S. adult population has a diagnosable mental health condition which falls within this continuum, but unfortunately, only a fraction of those people receive mental health services. This is due in large part to the stigma which is still connected with receiving mental health services. To me, that’s a shame.
As a psychologist, I am confronted with this prejudice on a near-daily basis. Just recently I saw a very “normal” individual who was dealing with a lot of worry and anxiety over a family situation. At the end of our first session, she admitted that for a very long time she thought she could handle her problems on her own and did not need outside help. She expressed great relief that she finally came in for counseling, and wondered out loud why she hadn’t done this sooner. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a statement like that.
Here is my wish for Mental Health Month:
1. If you’ve ever wondered if you should see a counselor, you probably should. Take the next step and make an appointment. You’ll probably be surprised at how helpful counseling can be.
2. If you have been helped by mental health services yourself, share your experience with someone else. Help other people see that you don’t have to be “crazy” in order to benefit from mental health services.
3. If you have a friend or family member who has been struggling with a difficult issue, I urge you to lovingly encourage them to seek professional services.
4. Finally, and very importantly, we have many members of the armed forces who are returning after having served their country well, many over multiple tours of duty. It can be very difficult transitioning from military service and possibly combat experience back to civilian and family life. There are many services through both military and civilian providers which can help with that transition.
If you are a returning service member, thank you for your service. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance during these potentially difficult times.
We’ve come a long way in bringing other health issues, like heart disease and cancer, to widespread public awareness. It was not that long ago that breast cancer wasn’t discussed publicly. It’s time we gave the same exposure and respect to mental health. There are many well-trained and well-qualified mental health providers in the Wabash Valley. Ask your doctor or your pastor for a referral. Google “psychologist,” “counseling,” or “marriage and family therapy.” Go to the Yellow Pages.
Help yourself. Help a family member. Help a friend. You’ll be glad you did.
— Richard G. Kennel,
Thanks to young man for honesty
I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Aaron, a fine young man, who found my wallet beside my car in an ISU parking lot at Chestnut, between Fourth and Fifth streets, on April 17.
He persevered to return it to me and refused a reward. There aren’t words enough to thank him for his honesty and integrity and kindness.
God bless you, Aaron.
— Nancy Bratt