By: Stan Popovich
Many religious people who struggle with their mental health usually go to their pastor for assistance. This is a very important step in your mental health recovery.
However, some may be reluctant to talk to a regular mental health counselor out of fear and lack of trust in today’s mental health system.
Here are a few reasons why you should talk to a psychologist in addition to your pastor regarding your mental health.
- Your mental health is a medical issue: Your mental health issues are medically related, just as if you see your primary care doctor for your physical health needs. A pastor does not have the resources to treat your mental health issues as a medical condition which can hamper your mental health recovery.
- Talk to a doctor you trust: Your medical or family doctor should be aware of your mental health struggles. Explain to your doctor your fear and anxiety-related problems, and he or she can point you in the right direction in seeking the proper medical treatment and to a trusted counselor.
- Get access to various medical resources: A pastor does not have the medicines to treat your mental health issues. A doctor and your counselor can recommend if you need any medical assistance for your mental health issues. Nowadays, depression and anxiety are treated with different medicines and counseling. A pastor can provide the counseling, but many are not trained to deal with your mental illness, which is a medical issue.
- Trust is Important: Many people are afraid to talk to a therapist because of trust issues. Some African Americans may be afraid to talk to a therapist due to stigma around mental health, lack of trust in mental health professionals, cultural differences, financial barriers, and fear of discrimination. In these cases, it’s important to talk to your pastor and doctor about your concerns and ask if they know anyone they recommend. Addressing these concerns is important to help more African Americans seek therapy and receive support for their mental health. Remember that you can choose who you want to talk to about your mental health.
- Ask a lot questions: When asking for a therapist, always ask for someone who has a good reputation and can be trusted. In addition, ask all the questions you may have, and they should be able to give you the answers you are looking for. If a particular counselor doesn’t address your concerns, then find somebody else that you can work with. Always keep your pastor and your doctor informed of your situation.
- Go at a steady pace: It is important to go at your own pace so that you feel comfortable finding the right people to deal with your mental health. However, you do not want to put things off. The key is to do something each day that will push you forward in getting the right treatment for your mental health. Remember that finding a counselor to help you depends on how you interact with them and how they interact with you. Finding the right person may take a couple of times, but do not give up. Finding the right person will pay off for you in the long run.
- Measure your progress: The key components of having an effective therapist are affordability, the ability to effectively talk to your counselor, and how effective they are in finding the answers to your current problems. Talk to people you can trust if you are having a difficult time. You can always go to your local hospital or additional support groups and programs in your area for additional advice and referrals without spending a lot of money.
Here are a few additional reasons why you should talk to a psychologist in addition to your pastor regarding your mental health.
- Getting help for your mental health problems is the best thing you can do.
- You can’t run away from your mental health issues.
- There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
- Your situation is not hopeless, regardless of what you may think.
- There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to your mental health.
- Focus on your recovery rather than trying to please others.
- Go to the nearest hospital if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
- You must make an effort in finding the answers to your mental health issues.
- Focus on the facts of your situation rather than your fearful thoughts.
- Joining a support group is a great way of finding people who can relate to you.
- Follow the advice from professionals rather than your friends.
- Do not try to manage your mental health problems all by yourself.
- Determine the source of your anxieties and then find ways to overcome it.
- Do not make assumptions regarding your current mental health situation.
- Do not underestimate the power of God when it comes to your mental health.
- Learning from your past mental health experiences will help you in the present.
Remember that the first step to help the person who is struggling with their depression and addictions is to convince them to talk to a mental health professional and to have them follow through on the advice given to them.
The answers to your mental health issues are out there if you make the effort to find those solutions.
Stan Popovich is the author of the popular managing fear book, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear”. For more information about Stan’s book and to get some free mental health advice, please visit Stan’s website at http://www.managingfear.com
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