This time we talk about suicide, medication, and why seeking professional help is important.
Last week, we discussed some common misconceptions about mental health (insert link). This week, Prof. Jhon Carandang returns to shed light on five more misunderstandings about mental wellness.
- Mental health concerns are like cancer; the person can get better, but the condition will never go away.
Prof. Carandang: “This is partly true, but there is no need to regard it in such a negative light. People can and do recover from their mental health concerns, but they will need to continuously attend therapy, take their medication, or religiously practice self-care to prevent relapses. With the right care and support, many people with mental health issues go on to live productive and fulfilled lives, have good relationships with others, and excel and work. ”
- When my friends confide their problems to me, I always give them tons of advice but they just wouldn’t listen. So it’s their fault they can’t snap out of their depression/anxiety/stress.
Prof. Carandang: “This is because more often than not, people who are troubled or struggling do not need advice; all they require is someone who will listen to them. I honestly believe that listening is the highest form of kindness that you can show others; when you take a pause and try to understand someone else’s perspective, it is only then that you truly grasp what he or she needs. Even as a psychologist, there are many times when I don’t say anything during the entire hour of therapy, and my patients are thankful for it.
The only exception to this rule is when your friend is talking about committing self-harm, suicide, or harming other people. In this case, you need to convince them to seek the help of a professional immediately, or offer to accompany them to one. If they are resistant, reach out to a mental health professional yourself, so that he or she can give you tips on how to handle the situation and convince your friend to see an expert.”
- People who take medication for their mental health will become addicted to it or experience negative side effects.
Prof. Carandang: “Addiction and negative effects to medication only occur if the patient veers away from the dosage or treatment plan prescribed by his or her psychiatrist. Never self-medicate, and always show up for follow-up sessions even if you are already feeling fine.”
- People who commit suicide display warning signs before committing the act. Their family/friends should have spotted the signs and been there for them.
Prof. Carandang: “More often than not, people who have suicidal ideations do not show signs that they are thinking about taking their own lives. Just as not everyone who is sad is depressed, not everyone who is happy is not struggling inside. This is why we should be mindful of our words and actions, because someone who is thinking of suicide is already experiencing severe depression, and what we say or do can inadvertently be the trigger that pushes their vulnerabilities over the edge.”
- Therapy is a waste of money. Why spend money talking to a professional when I can just talk to my friends for free!
Prof. Carandang: “Don’t think of it as simply paying to talk to someone; think of it as similar to going to a doctor when you have a physical illness — we don’t balk about paying them when our physical health is on the line right? So why should it be any different when we need to consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist about our mental health? Now, if financial constraints are really the issue, I think it’s also the responsibility of the patient’s friends and loved ones to pool funds to provide the necessary mental health care to the patient. Think of it as your act of charity; you could literally be saving a life by donating money to cover the costs of therapy. Or you can help them look for companies that offer free counselling services.”
If you are struggling or know someone who is, MindNation psychologists are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now thru bit.ly/mn-chat.
What other topics about mental health and wellbeing do you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments below.
— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation