May is Mental Health Month, and I’m joining the Mental Health Month Blog Party to help decrease stigma about mental illness.
Many people have huge barriers to seeking help when they are struggling. Sometimes these barriers are financial. Some folks may not be in a location in which it is easy to find good care from a variety of providers. Some are unable to find the strength to reach out for help. Some folks want help but they may have difficulty finding a therapist who is sensitive to their cultural needs or who has expertise working with their particular issues.
This is one way that blogging and the Internet can increase access. It is becoming easier to find help, whether that comes through seeking online support or searching for a clinician. Some people are utilizing telehealth services to reach out to practitioners outside of their communities. Others are able to find information and resources shared by others and not feel so isolated.
One of my own practice specialties is working with sexual minority clients who have traditionally been pathologized by mental health professionals. It can be intimidating to seek care for anxiety, compulsive thoughts or behaviors, depression, or relationship concerns if you worry that your therapist will assume that your identity or lifestyle is a cause for concern. If you need help finding a therapist who is knowledgeable and accepting of your kink, poly, or LGBT identity, please see my favorite resources below:
- Kink-aware professionals is a directory to help you find a referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, legal and other professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality.
- Poly-friendly professionals is a list of professionals who have been referred or who have identified themselves as being, open-minded about polyamory and polyamorous issues.
- Gaylesta is a Bay Area, CA resource providing therapist referrals, education, and consultation to LGBTQ clients, but there is likely a similar resource in your community.
For more general information and articles, I recommend people look at what is available at these sites:
- American Psychological Association: browse the psychology topics to learn more
- PsychCentral has become one of the largest and most resourced hubs of mental health information, support, and community on the web.
Lastly, here are two of my favorite mental health news items of this week:
- Self-compassion may matter more than self-esteem explains how developing the skills of mindfulness, common humanity and kindness can improve your mental health.
- If you think it’s hard to take the steps to seek mental health care, it may reassure you to know that the majority of mental health professionals believe in therapy for themselves. At this link, Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP shares some research reporting that 84% of psychologists and 85% of cross-discipline mental health professionals have also sought mental health treatment.