What do YOU say about Mental Illness?

Our mental health seriously affects our physical  health, so there should be absolutely no stigma around mental health, none at all~First Lady, Michelle Obama

Depression. Bipolar Disorder.  PTSD.  Schizophrenia.

What do YOU think of when you hear any of these illnesses?

Do you remember the first time you heard someone speak about mental illness?

Has the way you have heard others speak about mental illness impacted your perspective?

Most of us hear  about mental illness or mental health in the news when something tragic happens.  A mass shooting, a mother or father killing the kids, or or a murder-suicide.  We hear about it when our parents or other relatives discuss family members that have a diagnosis.  We may talk about it with our friends if one of them opens up about their own struggle with mental health or in relation to a story-line from a TV show.  But what do YOU have to say about mental health and mental illness?  What is the impression YOU convey to others when discussing either topic? Continue reading “What do YOU say about Mental Illness?”

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What REALLY happens in family therapy? ~Nedra Tawwab, LCSW

Want to know if family counseling is beneficial for you? 
 
Black people are starting to be more open and vocal about the benefits of the counseling process. Celebrities such as Charlamagne Tha God, Jennifer Lewis, and Keke Palmer have spoken about how their families impacted their mental health which led to them seeking counseling. Many of the issues that individuals face were observed in their family of origin. Too often, family counseling is used under duress or when an intervention is needed on a particular family member. Family counseling is not intended to be biased toward one family member over the other. It is meant to allow attendees to address issues in the family system. When one person has an issue with the family, the entire family unit is impacted. For instance, if a parent has issues taking care of the kids and leans on other family members for finial support, the other family members are now involved and therefore impacted. 
 
Who comes to Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a counseling process for two or more members in a family unit. A family is identified as a couple, siblings, mother-daughter, parents-children, etc. In many, cases families seek counseling to address communication issues, death, divorce, substance abuse or changes to the family dynamics. Family counseling is useful for families who have long-term patterns of dysfunctional such as substance abuse and sexual/physical abuse, changes in relationships structure such as divorce and those who want to learn how to be in healthy relationships with one another. 
 
What to Expect
Prior to entering counseling, families may not have the tools to sort through issues or they may not have the language to identify their needs and feelings. In a family counseling session, the therapist will establish rules and assess the expectations of the family. The biggest myth in family counseling is that  “my opinion will not be heard.” The therapist will allow everyone the opportunity to speak, will summarize relevant information and ask questions for deeper probing. Each family member is granted the opportunity to speak so that no one person is monopolizing the conversation. If one person seems to be talking more than others, the therapist will ask for others to speak and respond. The family will establish mutually agreed upon goals for counseling and identify how they’d like to function post counseling.  Therapists strive to be fair. Therefore, when working with families therapist will develop a structure to make sure the everyone is heard. 

Continue reading “What REALLY happens in family therapy? ~Nedra Tawwab, LCSW”

3 things that could impact our conversation on Mental Health

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”-MLK

Mental health,  self-care, and therapy are words that we are seeing almost daily.  From the news to social media, the conversation about mental health is increasing, but is it decreasing the stigma?  Are we more educated on mental health and mental illness than ever before?  The current conversation mental health proves that there is still a lot of work to do.

On February 14, 2018 a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and when he left, 33 people had been shot.  On February 15, 2018 news stories began telling the story of the accused gunman and words like “troubled” and “depressed” were used.  Those words gave way for many people to blame “mental health issues” for this terrible crime.  The accused gunman had never been diagnosed with a mental illness, yet many Americans believe that our mental health system failed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High that fateful day.

Despite the increased talk about it, despite celebrities opening up about going to therapy and their own diagnosis of mental health conditions, there is still a stigma that mental illness and violence go hand in hand.  In reality, most people with a mental illness are not violent.  Maybe we need to shift the conversation, get more specific and  be more inclusive. Continue reading “3 things that could impact our conversation on Mental Health”