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How to know when to ask for help with our mental health

We all deserve to take care of ourselves.

May Tribune

Many of us struggle to admit we need support in many basic areas of life, let alone with our mental well-being. We’re often led to believe we should have it all together all the time or that we should be strong for the people around us. In reality, that’s not true. We are all human and we all have brains, which deserve to be cared for.

Megan Steen, Vice President of Burrell Behavioral Health’s Central Region, puts it simply – mental health is health. It impacts how we think, feel and act. Steen says mental health is important at every stage of our life, from childhood through adulthood. Mental health isn’t just taking a deep breath in a tough moment or going to a weekly meeting with a therapist – it’s both of those things and everything in between. Steen says it’s important to consider seeing a mental health professional when we need one, just as we would a physical health doctor when we’re sick or hurt. We all deserve to do what it takes to make us feel better.

Steen says that, in many ways, it can be challenging to be a human right now. She explains we may all be feeling the weight of the grief and significant changes to daily life through the pandemic as they have now coincided with significant world events. These circumstances, combined with other daily stressors we all face, can build to a point of struggle.

According to Steen, there may be signs that let us know when we need support for our mental wellness. Here are some signs to be aware of that may show we aren’t doing as well as we thought:

  • Change in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Change in mood
  • Losing interest in activities we normally enjoy
  • Starting or increasing substance use

She says these, along with any other significant changes in daily functioning, are indicators it may be a good time to reach out for help. Steen says the bottom line is this: if we’re asking if we should seek support, the answer is likely “yes.” She says that goes for ourselves and the loved ones we may be concerned about.

If we think it might be time to talk to someone about what we’re dealing with, we can start with the people in our lives who we trust, such as friends and family members. Burrell’s free crisis hotlines are available 24/7 to anyone who needs to talk.

Steen says mental health services from Burrell are not just for those in need of immediate care. Burrell’s Be Well Community brings brain science to life through self-care and connection every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The virtual wellness community is available to the public through Facebook Live. Anyone interested in seeking care and treatment can walk in or call one of Burrell’s Connection Centers in Springfield or Columbia to meet with a licensed professional and discuss next steps. For phone numbers, hours and addresses of those Connection Centers, click here.

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