Mental Health Resources

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, as there are a variety of mental health conditions that can affect you in many different ways.

However, diagnosing mental health issues is often much more difficult than diagnosing physical ailments. Mental health symptoms are often not visible, and many of the symptoms are shared among conditions. In addition, patients do not all show the same symptoms for the same condition, which makes it harder to properly diagnose the condition. You may have to see a therapist for multiple sessions before he or she develops a list of possible symptoms.

Because it can take so long to receive a proper diagnosis, you should visit a therapist as soon as possible if you are concerned with your mental health. If you are a parent, you have the additional responsibility of caring for your child’s mental health. One of the skills you will have to master if your child has a condition is advocating on his or her behalf at school.

When to Get a New Mental Health Therapist

Developing a relationship with your therapist can be difficult. When attending a therapy session, you are revealing many personal details with someone you hardly know. In order to be properly diagnosed, you need a good relationship with your therapist. Unfortunately, there are times when you may not feel comfortable with your therapist. However, it is sometimes hard to tell if the discomfort comes from being so vulnerable with a stranger, or because you genuinely need a new therapist. If you are having a difficult time deciding whether you need a new therapist, consider whether the following signs apply to you:

  • Therapy starts to feel like a chore, or you continually feel worse after attending a therapy session.
  • After multiple sessions, you feel like you are still discussing the same issues without making any progress.
  • After multiple sessions, you do not feel comfortable revealing your personal details to your therapist, or you feel like he or she does not believe what you are saying.
  • Your therapist appears distracted during your sessions, or constantly shows up late or makes excuses to end the sessions early.
  • Your therapist continually insists you are better, or constantly pushes a treatment plan you are uncomfortable with.

It is not only negative situations that may cause you to seek out a different therapist. In some situations, you need a new therapist because you are too dependent on your current therapist. A therapist helps you heal, but he or she should not be a constant in your life. If you find yourself relying too much on your therapist, he or she may not be doing an adequate enough job to help you solve your issues. Finally, there may be practical reasons for seeing a new therapist. If your insurance no longer covers therapy or you plan on moving further away from his or her office, you should consider making an appointment with a new therapist.

Advocating for Your Child at School

If your child has any mental health issues, it is important you understand how to act as an advocate for him or her at school. Your first step as an advocate is speaking with your child. Make sure your child feels comfortable among both students and teachers. You should make a point to ask about both good and bad situations at school. If you know what classes or teachers your child enjoys, you will have an easier time finding potential replacements for teachers or classes with which your child struggles.

Once you have a better idea about what your child is going through, the next step is to talk with the school. It is possible the school is not as familiar with the issues as you. Most children are far more comfortable confiding in their parents than the school staff, so it is possible the administration is not aware there are any potential problems. As such, make sure you are not too accusatory with the school.

If your child meets with a therapist or any other mental health specialist, it is important to speak directly with him or her. If your child is comfortable, you can attend sessions with him or her. However, you should consider letting your child have individual sessions as well, as he or she may not feel comfortable openly speaking with his or her therapist if you are sitting in on the session.

How to Handle Misdiagnoses of a Mental Health Issue

Diagnosing mental health issues can be very challenging, since many possible diagnoses and conditions share several of the same traits. Being misdiagnosed is potentially dangerous, since you may be on a treatment plan that is making your condition worse. If you believe you have been misdiagnosed, the first thing you should do is conduct research on the condition with which you were diagnosed. Go over all the symptoms and see whether they line up with what you are feeling. Make sure you are using a legitimate medical source, such as a medical journal. You should also consider speaking with another doctor or therapist for a second opinion.

You can also fill out a mental illness assessment. These assessments are primarily used to diagnose possible conditions. If other conditions show up besides the one you were diagnosed with, you should research those conditions to see if it better matches how you are feeling.

Your Rights as an Individual With Mental Illness

As of writing, there has been an increase in laws to protect your rights as an individual with a mental illness. There are many different laws in place that protect your rights and ensure you have access to proper health care. As of writing, the following rights are legally available to you if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness:

  • The right to affordable health insurance for mental health or substance abuse.
  • The right to be fully informed of all helpful treatment options available to you.
  • The right to have someone advocate on your behalf if you are not in a condition to represent yourself.
  • The right to only receive treatment you have consented to, unless a court rules otherwise.
  • The right to legal counsel if you are ever discriminated against because of your condition.
  • The right to view your medical record, as well as the right to keep your record confidential.

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