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Combating Mental Health Stigma

Mental illness affects one in five American adults each year. Unfortunately, half of the people who need mental health support aren’t getting it because of the stigma attached to their condition.

The US Surgeon General’s Report of Mental Health identified stigma as a public health concern that leads people to “avoid living, socializing, or working with, renting to, or employing individuals with mental illness.”

At CHE, we pledge to do our part to lessen this impact by promoting awareness of behavioral health, whether that means talking openly about our own mental health struggles, using person first language, educating our communities, or advocating for greater access to mental health services at the state and federal level.

We are optimistic that together we can help America recognize that caring for mental health benefits everyone. Eventually, we believe mental health will be given the same respect we give our physical health and that mental health treatment will be considered just as valuable to individuals and communities. As NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) so poignantly states: “Together, we will turn the tide on stigma by spreading awareness, support, and understanding for every person who experiences mental illness. Together, we can make a difference for the better.”

Anxiety

Anxiety is a sense of unease, nervousness, or dread that may occur before or during certain events (such as public speaking or unfamiliar situations), or that may be more general--often coloring your whole life. A certain level of anxiety can be healthy, helping keep us alert, aware, and motivating us to solve problems and perform well; however, if anxiety becomes so overwhelming and debilitating that it prevents you from engaging in and enjoying your life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

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Depression

Depression can feel unshakeable - like no matter what you do, you just can’t quite feel better. You may feel tired a lot and have little desire to engage in activities you normally enjoy. Often, there may be no clear reason why you started feeling this way. If you identify with these feelings, please know you are not alone. Depression is quite common, and psychotherapy with a qualified clinician can help. You have taken the first step already by asking questions and seeking out services.

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Grief

Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion, that stems from a loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, job loss, or other traumatic experiences of loss. Grief may initially involve feeling numb but may also involve a range of emotions from deep sadness to anger to guilt. While most people will experience a significant loss at some point, grief is a deeply personal experience that feels profound and overtakes one’s life. It is important to remember: everyone grieves differently, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve or right or wrong way to feel.

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Stress

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that, over time, can wear you down. Stress can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) and is often the result of situations that make you feel powerless, frustrated, afraid, or in danger. Small amounts of stress can motivate us to get things done and perform as needed; however, if we are faced with stressors we do not believe we can cope with or long term stress, these can negatively impact mental and physical health.

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Anger

Anger is a normal emotion we all experience. Anger is often an emotion you feel when you perceive someone has deliberately “done you wrong” or when you feel mistreated or injured. People vary greatly as to what makes them angry, how often they feel angry, and how intense the feelings of anger may be. Anger becomes a problem when it becomes so overwhelming that it negatively impacts your relationships, jobs, legal standing, or your emotional well-being. If you feel you have trouble controlling your anger, this is often an indicator that your anger may be out of your control.

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Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. It entails a self-evaluation and one’s beliefs and judgments about her/himself. Unhealthy self-esteem occurs when a person feels badly about her/himself and lacks confidence. People with low-self esteem are often more self critical and hard on themselves. If you have low self-esteem, you may find you avoid pursuing meaningful activities or social activities because you feel inferior to others or are worried about rejection. This may lead you to take less initiative in your education or career, prevent you from seeking out meaningful relationships, and be more accepting of poor treatment from your family, friends, and romantic partners.

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Couples Therapy

In couples therapy, two partners work with a licensed therapist in a safe and non-judgmental environment to understand and improve any issues impacting the health of the relationship, such as communication, difficult life transitions, infidelity, or disconnection, to name a few.

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Relationship Difficulties

Relationships enhance our lives, but they aren’t always easy. Conflicts with partners, spouses, friends, and family members can leave you feeling sad, angry, and frustrated with little idea of how to solve the problem. Examining negative and repetitive relationship patterns can help identify where you may be stuck and move your relationships forward in a way that feels joyful and healthier.

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Trauma

Trauma comes in many forms and can occur when an event or series of events overwhelms the body and psyche’s ability to cope, resulting in an inability to move past the trauma. PTSD is the most well-known diagnosis (cluster of symptoms) that can result from severe forms of trauma; however, it is not the only one. Trauma is highly individual and what may be traumatic for one person may not necessarily be for another. If you feel frightened, overwhelmed, and are experiencing constant triggers, teletherapy can help.

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Systemic Oppression and Discrimination

Research consistently shows that our social environment and life experiences have a significant impact on mental health and that groups who suffer social disadvantage, discrimination, and oppression have higher rates of mental distress. Generally speaking, systemic oppression and discrimination occurs when the laws of a society create unequal treatment of specific groups of people (i.e, racial, gender, ethnic, sexuality, physical ability, to name a few). It is the mistreatment of groups of people enforced by the institutions of society. Because it is “systemic,” it can often go unrecognized.

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Other

Life difficulties can manifest in innumerable ways. If you feel you can benefit from support in the service of your mental health, you do not need a specific diagnosis to reach out. Teletherapy can help with any number of life stressors and conditions. Teletherapy is not just for the treatment of a specific disorder, though it can be for that as well. Teletherapy is also for those looking to explore their lives in fuller detail as a way of relieving patterns and symptoms that feel overwhelming and unwanted. Self-growth and understanding are often reasons people seek out therapy - to work on improving their relationships, understanding one’s identity and values and living a life consistent with those values, and learning healthy ways to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs.

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