i wanted to rap with you all about something that keeps resurfacing both at work and in my personal life – mental health treatment.
now, for those of you who are new to my blog, i have my masters in counseling psychology with a marriage and family therapy emphasis. i currently work at an all girls college prep school as a counselor that wears two hats – one is doing academic advising for 9th and 10th grade and the other is doing mental health counseling for grades 9 through 12 while accruing the 3000 hours needed for licensure.
since we have been quarantined, there has been a spike in the number of students seeking treatment and an increase in the number of sessions requested by students i was already seeing regularly. i have also been on the receiving end of tons of text messages, dms and phone calls from friends who feel like they are “losing it” or “spiraling out of control” or “simply cannot explain these feelings”.
for my students i was seeing regularly, some of them no longer have the privacy to discuss issues they might have in my office because the people they want to talk to me about are now at home with them. for my students i had only seen in an academic setting that are now considering mental health treatment, there has been a lot of hesitation. the same applies for my friends ranging from ages 25 to 60, both men and women. when doing some digging as to where the hesitation stemmed from, there was a common theme that came up again and again. it is one that drives me a bit crazy and something that needs to be acknowledged. faith broussard cade put it simply:
“just because your grandma/grandpa/mama/daddy didn’t “believe in therapy” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek the mental health treatment you need…how you heal is your choice.” -faith broussard cade
while i know therapy still has a stigma, especially with the populations i work with, this is still something i am trying to instill in my students because i want them to be adults that do not feel shame around prioritizing mental health and healing in a way that feels good for them. as far as my friends who have the agency over their lives and the funds to make mental health a priority with ease, i want them to break the cycle of not healing because it was not prioritized by the adults who reared them.
my own father went from being someone who refused to go to therapy with me as an adolescent when i requested it (and said it is for particular groups, young black women not being one of them) to questioning both my major and choice of university for undergrad to telling me on my graduation day that it “looks like you made the right decision – i am glad you listened to your gut” to hearing of the work i did during practicum in grad school and telling me how proud he was of me to opening up about some of his own traumas last year and saying that he was considering therapy for himself for the very first time at the ripe age of 63.
far before my dad got on board, i made a choice about my mental health in an effort to break a series of cycles that were not in alignment with who i was and more importantly, who i wanted to be. had i listened to him, i would be have waited until i got his stamp of approval at the age of 29 before working on me. instead, i did the work anyway (and continue to do so).
i am so fucking glad that i did.
quarantine has provided many of us with more time for quiet to sit alone with our thoughts and feelings than we typically get. if you have had thoughts or feelings come up that don’t seem feasible to tackle on your own, what better time to vet a therapist?
i want you to take a moment and silence every single voice in your head that is not your own. then, tell me what healing looks like for you.