Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how people feel, act, relate to others and decision-making. Mental health is significant in everyday functioning. People with good mental health can better cope with challenging situations and overcome stress. They have higher levels of self-esteem, resilience, emotional regulation effective communication.
Recent studies show an increase in people facing mental health challenges in Singapore, especially among the younger population. Channel News Asia and other news agencies reported that more youths face mental health challenges, which include a sense of sadness and loneliness, leading to anxiety and depressive symptoms. This statistic is probably due to the younger population being more receptive to seeking help. It might not adequately reflect the mental health challenges of the older population.
The articles also reported an increase in the number of people diagnosed with depression and suicidal ideation, especially during the COVID pandemic. People face difficulties coping with challenges in school, home, work or personal relationships. Some people struggle with loneliness, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that you are dealing with mental health challenges can be highly challenging, and the sigma may hinder some people from stepping forward to seek help. However, leaving the problem unaddressed does not lead to the disappearance of the issue. It may worsen it. Leaving prolonged sadness and anxiety untreated may cause them to develop into life-long psychological disorders that impede people’s well-being.
Coping with Mental Health Challenges
It is essential to acknowledge or recognize the event(s) that caused the mental health challenges and your emotional response to it. Acknowledging does not mean that you are somehow approving what happened. Instead, by recognizing that it occurred, you are validating your reality and your painful experience. It paves the way for you to decide what to do next.
It is also important to build coping skills to deal with mental health challenges. Spending time on hobbies like knitting, painting, or exercising can help you calm down. However, overcoming mental health challenges on your own is highly challenging. Therefore, you may also like to start identifying internal and external resources to strengthen your well-being. Internal resources include identifying your strength, resiliency, and capacity to make healthy choices and remembering times when you displayed strength and resilience.
Building external resources include identifying people you can rely on for emotional support. They may not necessarily be people you hang out with, but they are people you can depend on for emotional support. Reaching out to your faith, religion or spiritual resources is also helpful to help you cope with the mental health challenges.
If you are providing emotional support to someone going through emotional challenges, be open to providing a listening ear without rushing to solve the problem. Sometimes, all they need is someone to hear them. If the person’s mental health challenges seem complex, encourage the person to seek help from a professional mental health clinic. Professional mental health therapists can help people facing mental health challenges to deal with the issues. Trauma-trained mental health therapists can also help people with mental health challenges deal with their past issues.
Seeking Mental Health Therapist
There are many mental health therapists in Singapore, whether in social services or private mental health clinics. Even if you may not have a specific goal, it will be helpful to have some idea of the issues you would like to process as you search for a mental health therapist in Singapore. You may want to read the credentials of the mental health therapist (e.g., trauma, addictions) at the mental health clinic you are approaching.
Going to the mental health clinic can be daunting, but feeling nervous in the first session is natural. If it helps, you may like to ask a friend or a family member to accompany you for the first appointment with the mental health therapist. The important thing is to make sure you find a mental health therapist with whom you feel safe and comfortable being vulnerable. If budget is a constraint, you may like to approach a mental health therapist trainee instead. Though interns may not be able to help you deal with deep-rooted issues of childhood trauma, they can provide listening ears and help you to develop coping skills to deal with mental health challenges.
Restoring Peace Counselling and Consultancy offers counselling and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families and groups. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or WhatsApp +65 8889 1848.
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