Why ‘seeking help’ is most difficult step towards treating mental health problems

A healthcare worker sits on a bench near Central Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City, US. — Reuters/File

The number of people suffering from mental health problems is growing but this May — which is also regarded as mental health awareness month — experts have voiced their concerns regarding the crisis and suggested some of the measures to avoid complications.

The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that over 94 million US citizens have experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression in the past four weeks.

While sharing their views, the mental health professional told ABC News several strategies to cope with the mental health crisis situation especially when the days are extra complicated and people are feeling out of control.

Seeking professional help

During the interview, the professionals noted that people need to find a trusted mental health therapist with whom they can ask for expert advice especially when the days are hard.

Those who are feeling any kind of mental health emergency must call or leave a text message at 988 to Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24/7 for providing free and confidential support.

According to the professionals, there are many barriers to starting therapy. For one, it can be expensive, especially for people without insurance coverage.

One of the main barriers is also stigma which can prevent people from seeking help for their mental health.

“I regret not getting therapy sooner. I had my own stigma about therapy. I used to think that therapy was only for people with severe mental health issues,” said Dr Jake Goodman, a psychiatry resident doctor.

“Some of my patients initially worry about being stereotyped as crazy, being misunderstood, or being from different cultures and having to educate while trying to heal,” said Dr Osose Oboh, a Maryland-based internal medicine resident doctor.

Therapy would not fix things immediately however, seeking consistent help from the therapist is the key which according to experts can pay off significantly.

Dr Goodman opined that it’s best not to share your therapist with friends or family members.

Oboh also noted that if you have some suicidal thoughts, you should take it seriously, adding that if the symptoms are intervening in your daily life activities, see a mental health expert.

Different strategies for different people

According to medical experts, there are many positive strategies that can help people get through difficult days.

Dr Kali Hobson, an Atlanta-based adult and child Hobson noted: “For some people, coping may look like running a marathon, and for others, it might be binge-watching a show in bed. Don’t compare your coping skills to others. If it helps, it helps.”

Dr Oboh stated that running, journaling, or listening to music helped when she didn’t have the words to express how she was feeling.

If you’re not giving yourself time, then who are you giving it to?” she added.

The experts are suggested to take a break from social media networking if there are any feelings of anxiety or depression.


The experts maintained that many people have traumatic childhood experiences of neglect, or abuse that may have contributed to mental health diagnoses later in life. When people understand this and become more self-aware, they can cope with their hard days more effectively.

Knowing about potentially triggering events won’t eliminate bad days, but when people have a better understanding of why they feel so upset, it may help them remember to practice coping mechanisms, said Oboh.

Prescribed medications

Dr Hobson viewed behaviour and therapy strategies are used first before moving on to medication, but for some people, therapy plus medications is the best path to mental wellness.

Before resorting to any medication, expert advice from doctors is necessary and the pros and cons should be known about the medicines.

According to experts, people should not use any medicines that are not prescribed by doctors when they are going through hard days. As the pandemic ends and we go toward our normal life, but there would be some hard days but that’s okay, said experts.

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