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Getting Your Mental Health Journey Started

May 15, 2024

Written by: Erendira Zazueta, Coalition Coordinator


As we celebrate mental health awareness month let’s dive a little deeper into how to get your journey started. The first step is always to bring awareness. Now that we are aware of how important our mental health is, how do we do something about it? The first step would be to do a little bit of research. Mental health is a broad term for many things that are either positive or negative. If you are struggling with your mental health and want to do something about it you can maybe talk with your doctor first. If you don’t want to talk to your doctor about it, you can do some online research. There are different things you and do like therapy, medicine, medicine assisted therapy, or even therapy alternatives. Something to keep in mind is that a certain approach may seem good to you but it could possibly not be what you need. But regardless it is ok to give something a try.


The most common approach to having better mental health is therapy. Nowadays therapy is a lot less stigmatized which is a wonderful thing! So once you’ve decided you want to try therapy you have to figure out what type of issue you want to work with. Are you interested in improving your thoughts, relationship, marriage, working on past trauma, eating habits, self-image? There are therapists for every issue out there. A good place to start is psychologytoday.com where you can look up therapists near you. You can search through multiple filters like insurance, issues, location, and even genders. Each therapist will also have a little paragraph of the approach they have, and some even offer a free consultation. If you are also looking to see if they offer medicine assisted therapy, you can ask.

Before trying to find a therapist, you may want to do some research into what kind of therapy you would like to do. There’s cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, couples therapy, and many more.  By looking at each therapy online and reading a short description of it you can see if it’ll be helpful for the specific issue you’re working with. Once you have an idea of the type of therapy you want to do you can find a therapist who offers the therapy. After trying one therapist you might not like how it worked for you and that’s ok. You can always just try another kind of therapy or even try another therapist. It is important that you like your therapist, and you feel comfortable with them. You should not just settle for whatever therapist you find. If the first one you go to works well for you and the therapy works for you, that’s great! Not everyone is the same and not everybody works well with the same kind of therapy.


Medicine assisted therapy is also an option but that is something you would want to talk to your doctor about first. Let them know you’re interested in doing that specific therapy and ask them for an opinion. A doctor can even possibly give you a referral to a local psychiatrist. If your doctor approves, then start doing your research and finding a place that would work well with you.


If your mental health issue is more severe and you are interested in in-patient services those are available around the city as well. In-patient services can be beneficial for many people and if it is something you want to consider, call multiple places around the valley, and ask them about costs, hours, and what they offer. They may even allow you to tour the facility.

If you have a mental health issue that seems minor, and you want to start with an alternative method at first you can always try that. There are many things you can do as an alternative approach. The most common methods are yoga and meditation. Sometimes we are overwhelmed in our daily lives and that can affect our mental health and thinking. Yoga and meditation help us slow down and slow down our breathing, also reduces stress and anxiety. This will work with short-term anxiety and depression. If anxiety or depression lasts longer than 6 months, then you may want to consider another approach. Journaling is also a good way to improve your mental health. It leads to you slowing down and analyzing your day and emotions. You can even consider art therapy; you don’t have to be a good artist to do this. Art therapy can be a good way to reflect on your inner emotions and pass the time doing something slow and relaxing. If you feel a lot of anger and depression, you can try a rage room to let out all your emotions. If that is too expensive you can buy a glass plate from a discounted store nearby and write down all the things causing trouble in your life, put the plate inside a trash bag and tie it up, then smash the plate on the concrete. Since the plate was inside a tied trash bag already, the clean up will be easier.


Another approach to an alternative is peer support groups. Sometimes being a group with other people who are going through the same thing can also be helpful to make us feel better because we don't feel alone going through our issues. Ecotherapy is another one that involves being more out in nature. There are some horse ranches that offer ecotherapy in the form of equine therapy where you tend to a horse and create a connection. It does help with some people who deal with anxiety or depression or sometimes even some forms of autism. You can also sometimes volunteer at animal hospitals or shelters to get ecotherapy and that can be a short-term solution and if that's the case, you can sometimes go back and do that occasionally to help.

Mental health has no severity, you should always take care of your mental health regardless of how serious you think it is. Even if you don’t believe you have anything you need to work on within yourself you can always use any method to keep your mental health well or just feel better in general. Let’s continue to reduce the stigma around therapy and mental health issues because it is becoming more common for people to go to therapy or try other methods to feel better mentally. Everybody could use any method to help themselves feel better mentally.




Thank you for checking out this week's blog! Bee healthy and tune in next time!



Sources

1.      American Psychological Association (2024). Different approaches to psychotherapy. https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/approaches

Image sources

1.      Synergy Therapy (2024). ONLINE THERAPY IN ARIZONA. https://www.synergyetherapy.com/online-therapy-in-arizona/

2.      Copper Springs (2024). Mental Health and Addiction Treatment in Avondale, Arizona. https://coppersprings.com/locations/avondale-az/

3.      The Saddle Light Center (2024). About Equine Therapy. https://thesaddlelightcenter.com/about-us/about-therapeutic-riding/

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