Simplifying the things you hear around when people talk about mental health.
*MYTH: All mental health professionals are the same
FACT: All mental health practitioners are different, depending on the approach they use and whether or not they can prescribe medicines
Psychologists / Counselors / Therapists: These terms are used interchangeably and at a professional designation they are similar in their area of work. They are trained professionals with in depth study of science and behavior study of psychology. They focus on what we generally call as ‘Talk Therapy’ or integrate different modalities like art, cognitive, dance movement, gestalt to name a few. They do not give advice. It's a collaborative process to deal with the concerns and equip them with healthy coping skills. They cannot prescribe medicines. They usually work in collaboration with Psychiatrist for clients who are on medicine by providing them therapy.
Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. They are the one who can prescribe medicine to people with clinical diagnosis .
Life Coach: This is a 21st century term for professionals who tend to coach people and guide them to live their life or discover their potential through their knowledge ,and experience. They may or may not have any psychological or scientific degree. With due respect they tell people what to do, give advice and are very different from a trained therapist.
*MYTH: Mental health problems are uncommon
FACT: More people require mental health support today, than before .
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement on mental health problems being uncommon was false. After COVID-19, more people need mental and emotional support than ever before, and more people have also realized the importance of therapy. Currently, over 450 million people in the world are experiencing such conditions.(Source WHO). The awareness and stigma around seeking help is changing for the better, and more people are open to giving their mental health the same importance as their physical health.
*MYTH: Mental health problems are a sign of weakness
FACT: People who acknowledge that they need help, are in fact a true demonstration of strength .
Working on your mental and physical health is a journey and both take their own time and process in healing. While having mental health issues can pose certain challenges in your day-to-day approach to life, it certainly should not be seen as a weakness or a fault in people. Fighting a mental health condition takes a great deal of strength, and people who choose to take this journey, in fact, are emotionally stronger than most others.