Self help is both a viable option in many cases of mental health difficulties and disorders and should be fully utilized regardless of one's other treatment choices. Whether someone utilizes
professional help or not, self help should and must be a part of the healing process if there are going to be long-term gains in mental healing.
Aerobics. Exercise is one form of self-help that works.
Photo: ShinyFan, Dec 14, 2006
If we go to a doctor, lay ourselves on the table and expect him to "fix it" with pills or any other way, we are kidding ourselves. We have a personal responsibility to help ourselves, and a professional is there only to help us along in that process. Take responsibility for yourself. See NAMI mental health recovery
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Self help then, is one of those first steps in every treatment plan, from the moment one realizes he is having difficulties, until one's symptoms have gone into remission. We have to help ourselves, we have to work, fight, to overcome our symptom, our mental health disorder or difficulties. It takes much effort, like the butterfly coming out of the cocoon. We can emerge a different and stronger person.
Don't Resign Yourself to a Label and Medication Based on the Medical Model
We can't resign ourselves to a label
and feel like there is nothing we can do about it with the exception of taking pills. Labelling
can be beneficial in that it raises a red flag and opens up the possibility of getting support, however, it can be self-defeating, in that we resign ourselves to the label, and then are more inclined to not do anything about our situation to improve our mental health. Good mental health requires lifestyle changes, effort and determination. It is possible that even with that, it might take much time to be 100%, but much can be accomplished in this way in most situations.
Any assistance in the form of pharmaceuticals
should be for most, a temporary stop-gap, and something that is of last resort, rather than a first line defense. One needs to develop skills to overcome symptoms and to develop coping tools. Of course, some situations are more difficult than others and we have to be patient, but it is possible to overcome many symptoms of mental health disorders, if we can recognize life-style patterns that may be contributing to these disorders. A psychologist or therapist, should also endeavor to help us identify weaknesses in our lifestyle and help us to make appropriate changes.
Lifestyle Changes - Effective Self Help for Mental Health Disorders
Simple lifestyle changes in diet
, that includes exercise, are stated to be effective in overcoming up to 30% of the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder
, by one expert specialist on the subject. That being the case, if we look even deeper than the physical aspects of our lifestyle, can we likely bring that number up to 50-70% If we do, then we have effectively taken ourselves out of the clinical range of a diagnosable mental illness. This can and has been accomplished for such disorders as depression
, bipolar disorder and even autism
, such as stopping the use of any alcohol, quitting smoking
, exercising daily, attention to diet and good nutrition, can be very effective in long-term gains in mental health for many. Cutting back, sometimes way back, on time on the television, even the news, keeping movie
time to a minimum, and cutting out anything that might overwhelm the mind, toning down or mellowing out our taste in music
as well as the amount of time we spend with it, all of this can help us make gains in our symptom profile.
can help a person to regain and maintain mental balance without having to resort to medications. It takes courage to face one's problems and make changes in one's life and to swim against the current, There is personal responsibility in our decisions and our decisions cannot be relegated to another person, not even to a doctor, family member or other professional.
Therapy for Mental Health Difficulties
There are many options and therapies
that can be effective in treating mental health disorders. In Great Britain, Health magazine reported that doctors are known to prescribe self-help books
to patients as a first line defense strategy. Medication
is given secondary consideration.
However, use of psychiatric medications for both adults and children
has increased between four and five times in the past decade, some say it has increased seven-fold This is proving to be true even for children as young as four years old.
Educate Yourself - Self Help Books
Educate yourself on mental health. Read books which can help you to understand what you are going through and what you can do. You don't have to follow one book or article to the letter, but finding ideas and reading from a variety of sources can help you to put pieces of the puzzle together and implement a plan.
Some psychologists and psychiatrists who have written on the subject of mental health and self help are, Joel Robertson, Ph.D. -
Natural Prozac; Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, Prozac Backlash and, the Antidepressant Solution; Ruth Schmidt Neven, therapist team from Australia, Rethinking ADHD; Susan Ashley, clinical psychologist from California and her book, The ADD/ ADHD Question and Answer Handbook. All of these are helpful references for both depression
Coaching for Mental Health
for those with ADHD
is also available. There are organizations that can give you a list of coaches in your area. Many coaches work through the phone. They are there to support you or your child, to give practical suggestions and encouragement and to give reminders to whoever might be having problems so as to help keep them on track and on the plan.
is less costly than a therapist, and is often used in addition to the role of a therapist but at times has been used instead of a therapist. The suggestion has been made by one mental health organization, that some who may not want to go on medicine or see a psychologist, might try coaching as a first line of defense. This has been helpful for some persons suffering with mental health disorders. There have been success stories as a result of coaching. Of course, it depends on the quality of the one who is doing the coaching, as well as the willingness of the client to make changes.
Pages Related to Mental Health Self Help
Exercise, Mental Health
Regular Exercise Contributes to Good Mental Health.
--------------------------Positive, Natural Self-Help for Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Education and Psychoeducation
for Self and Family for Mental Health Wellness
Mental Health Self Help
Mental Health America - 9 Ideas for non-pharmaceutical self help in mental health.
Bipolar Disorder Self Help
Self Help Writing
for Mental Health Self Help
General mental health and depression self help
Self Help for Mental Health - 16 Keys