You go to the (virtual) doctor for a yearly checkup. You bring your car in for an oil change. You transition your summer wardrobe to fall. As humans, we naturally take care of ourselves, and while a spa day here and there might help, we so often overlook our mental health when partaking in self-care. Earl Lewis, a couples and family therapist, believes in ending the stigma that can come with seeing a mental health professional. Seeing a therapist should be a routine part of maintaining your overall mental health, not something you do only when you face a tough personal challenge.
“My clients are everyday people that you walk down the street with,” he said. “I’ve seen people with high economic status and low economic status. I’ve seen people with nowhere to live and I’ve seen high class. It’s all over the spectrum.”
While some issues might render mental health care absolutely necessary, Dr. Lewis says that even mundane, everyday stresses can be remedied by seeing a therapist. Most people can be reluctant to see a therapist for regular mental health care, especially because we live in a day and age where independence and self-help are championed.
Despite these societal tendencies, Dr. Lewis believes that self-care doesn’t necessarily mean caring for yourself by yourself. To him, self-care means working with a therapist to establish preventative measures against more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Two great examples of things to chat with a therapist about are relationships and pressure-related stress. “Relationships are very complex and abstract,” he says. “Sometimes, you just need a person who’s an outside eye to look into your relationship and notice things.”
Dr. Lewis also says that these issues are especially important for millennials who are experiencing these types of stressors for the first time. Because millennials are so eager to fend for themselves, seeing a therapist might be the last thing they think of when they consider coping with a situation. Many young people will turn to friends and family for help, but Dr. Lewis says that seeing a therapist can be the perfect complement to a support network you already have.
“Seeing a therapist isn’t exclusively about mental health,” Dr. Lewis said. “It’s about self-care management. What do I do when I have all these things going on to prevent from getting depressed? When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, that’s when depression and anxiety can set in. A therapist can help.”
Whether you have great mental health or can feel your mental state slipping (or anywhere in-between), Dr. Lewis argues that seeing a therapist should be as normal as going to your regular medical doctor. Convinced? Contact Dr. Lewis through his website, www.RelationshipsGoneRight.Com.
How do you keep yourself mentally healthy? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)