Here’s Why Early Intervention for Mental Health Is So Important
Have you ever broken a bone? If so, what happened immediately after the injury? Chances are, you went to the emergency room because you were in severe pain and couldn’t move a part of your body. The doctor stitched you or put you in a cast, and you were on your slow road towards recovery.
But when it comes to treating mental health, the methods and recovery process may not be so linear (or physically painful). Indeed, waiting for a “broken bone” may result in years of unnecessary suffering.
If you’re already experiencing some unwanted symptoms, it’s important to consider seeking early intervention for mental health. Taking this initiative now can make a significant difference in your recovery.
What Does Early Intervention for Mental Health Entail?
Mental health conditions are often progressive. In many cases, the initial symptoms emerge during adolescence or early adulthood. For example, research shows that up to 50% of mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% of mental illness begins by age 24.
That said, symptoms may be mild or ebb and flow for many years before becoming more intrusive. Recognition and treatment can be key for a sustainable recovery.
Early intervention may consist of numerous methods, including:
- Identifying mental health triggers.
- Providing education and resources about the specific mental health condition.
- Regularly meeting with a therapist.
- Beginning psychiatric medication.
- Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits.
- Learning and implementing specific mental health coping tools.
The best mental health treatment is comprehensive, meaning it focuses on treating you as a whole person, rather than just targeting specific symptoms. Depending on your circumstances, comprehensive care may also include working with several providers, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, and primary care physician. Each of these professionals works together as a team to give you the support and treatment you need.
You may know that one in four people struggles with a diagnosable mental health condition. But many of those people struggle with one or more conditions at the same time. So, if, for example, you have an eating disorder and depression, you need adequate treatment that focuses on both sets of symptoms.
For kids and teenagers, early intervention often consists of family-based treatment. It’s important that parents know how to support their children. It’s also beneficial for everyone in the family to receive guidance and resources during this time.
How Do You Know If You’re Really Struggling?
What’s the difference between being occasionally sad versus clinically depressed? Or, how do you know when you’re angry about something that happened in the past versus actively struggling with trauma?
No two mental health conditions look exactly alike, but you might be struggling if:
- Your symptoms are affecting other parts of your life (relationships, work, physical health).
- You are questioning or thinking about suicide.
- You are drinking, using drugs, or “escaping from life” more frequently.
- You consistently feel like you don’t trust or understand your emotions.
- Other people have made comments about changes in your behavior.
- It seems like things will never get better.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to suffer at a specific threshold to seek help. You also don’t need to have an official diagnosis.
Mental health lies on a large spectrum, but untreated conditions can worsen over time. If you believe you are struggling, that belief is completely valid. You don’t need any other proof. The longer you wait, the more anguish you might experience.
What If Things Have Already Progressed?
What if you’ve been struggling with a specific issue for several months or years? If that’s the case, you are not alone.
People avoid seeking treatment for many reasons, including having poor experiences with healthcare professionals, fear of vulnerability, lack of treatment accessibility, and worries about cost. These reasons are all legitimate, and it’s crucial to spend some time reflecting on them.
With that in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. For example, you do not have to participate in any treatment that feels uncomfortable or unsafe. Likewise, you have the right to decide what kind of support you want.
Even if things have progressed, it does not mean your future is hopeless. It just means you may need to spend more time learning and untangling old behaviors. You might also need to commit to making some serious changes in your life.
Early intervention for mental health can make a significant difference in improving one’s emotional well-being. While there are no easy cures for mental illness, having access to appropriate treatment often leads to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
At Willow Counseling, we believe you deserve support and healing, regardless of your circumstances. No matter how bad things seem, we have hope things can improve. We are here for you or your loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Willow Counseling, PLLC – Nashville, TN
Willow Counseling, PLLC exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community, recognizing the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. We work together to alleviate symptoms, learn better coping skills, relieve burdens, remove the pain of trauma, and so much more. However, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.