By Cynthia Hovis, MSW, LCSW, SAP, CCTP
It’s not always easy to know when you should seek professional help for your mental health. The signs below provide some basic guidance. However, you are the best judge of you. If you think you might need counseling, it’s probably best to reach out and ask for help.
You’re finding it difficult to concentrate. Changes in performance at work are common among those struggling with their mental health. This includes a lack of concentration and poor productivity levels.
Your friends and family are concerned about you. Friends and family members are sometimes (but not always) equipped to notice patterns from the outside that are difficult to see on the inside. If your loved ones have voiced concerns about your mental health, try and listen. They may have noticed something in you that you’re not yet able to see.
You’ve had difficulty sleeping. Depression and anxiety can both cause insomnia. Persistently struggling to sleep and poor sleep hygiene can interfere with your ability to function. If you're not getting enough high-quality sleep, it could be time to seek help. But remember, lots of things can affect your sleep, so it’s best to speak to a medical or mental health professional. Regardless of why you’re not sleeping well, poor sleep should never be ignored.
Nothing excites you. Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, or in life in general, may be a sign you should reach out and speak to a professional. The past few years have been a difficult time for everyone and discovering what excites you, post-pandemic, can feel overwhelming.
You keep getting ill. Emotional distress and stress can affect your body. It can turn up as a wide range of ailments, from chronic stomach issues to frequent colds, headaches, and general physical pain. If you’re physically not feeling well and your medical doctor can’t find the cause, ask them to recommend a mental health professional for you to consult.
You’re abusing substances to cope. If you find yourself abusing drugs or alcohol, or even eating too much or too little, this may be a red flag. Using these crutches to cope with poor mental health may numb you in the present, but it may be time to reach out for help.
You’ve suffered a traumatic event. Traumatic events such as deaths, break-ups, divorces, and job losses can require counseling to address. These traumas and associated grief don't always resolve on their own. They can impact your daily functioning if they persist. If you notice that you aren’t engaging in life or you’re pulling away from your loved ones, it might be time to seek professional help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it especially difficult for some of us to maintain our mental wellbeing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s better to be cautious and reach out for tools and support.
BJC EAP can help. BJC Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to help you as a source of information, insight and support. We hope you visit one of our caring, knowledgeable experts and get back to the business of living your life to the fullest. In person, telephone and virtual appointments are available. For more information, visit bjceap.com or call 314.747.7490 or toll free 888.505.6444.