No one is immune to mental health problems, and it’s imperative that we communicate openly about it

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Many people who deal with mental health isues don’t ask for help for reasons such as the stigma attached to mental illnesses, or believing they can go through the journey alone. And those who think their loved ones are dealing with issues may believe asking about it will bring about problems.

“If you recognize those concerns, it might be good to encourage that person to seek out help or express your concerns in any way you can encourage that,” said Dr. Drew Curtis, director of the Counseling & Psychology Department at Angelo State University.

A licensed health professional can assess whether or not someone is dealing with a mental disorder. Treatment, along with strong social support, can make a huge impact to someone who is dealing with disorders– because you don’t have to do it alone.

“With many psychological disorders, an availability of social support helps resuce the risk of the development of a number of disorders,” explained Dr. Curtis.

One example of these disorders is PTSD. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just veterans who suffer from this disorder. Anyone who may have had a direct or inderect traumatic experience could be at risk for developing this condition.

“That can range from natural disasters, mass interpersonal violence, combat, war, torture, sexual assault,” clarified Dr. Curtis, “There are several treatments for PTSD. There are biological treatments and psychological treatments.”

Although those who deal with mental health disorders are at a higher risk, there are others that also consider taking their lives. You don’t have to be dealing with mental health issues to have suicidal thoughts. Dr. Curtis suggests that anyone who needs help seeks it. And if you think one of your loved ones may be going through something painful that could lead to them trying to harm themselves, don’t be afraid to ask and offer help.

“Hoping that myself and others can do our best to help these individuals who experience pain,” Dr. Curtis added.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress or suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Other resources: 

West Texas Counseling and Guidance provides FREE same-day counseling (Monday-Friday) to anyone who may have suicidal thoughts. You can call them at 325-944-2561.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, you can call MHMR Services of the Concho Valley at  (325) 653-5933 or 1-800-375-8965. This 24 hour crisis line is available to assist you and provide information on resources during stressful times.

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