The 2 reasons people hesitate to contact mental health professionals

Professional listening, feedback, guidance, and, at times, medications can provide added help and hope. Some folks hesitate to contact a mental health professional such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or social worker for two primary reasons: finances and pride.

The Financial Hurdle: Most insurance plans cover psychiatric medications. Yet, tragically, many companies do not cover talk therapy. Yet what can be a better investment than in your mental and physical health? People take out loans for cars, vacations, weddings, and appliances—anything really. Why not use your credit card for investing in your well-being? This expense will be a great gift to you, your family, and your career. You are worth it.

The Pride Hurdle: Some people balk at or refuse to get professional counseling or medication: “Others will find out and I’ll be stigmatized . . . I’m not sick enough . . . I can handle this myself . . . I’ve been burned in the past by mental experts . . . I’ve not been helped by the so-called brain fixers I’ve seen before.”

Let’s face it: every profession has its small share of incompetent practitioners, whether doctors, therapists, bricklayers, plumbers, clergy, or others. Nevertheless, there certainly are plenty of skilled therapists and psychiatrists.

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, who serves on the faculty of Johns Hopkins Medical School, is one of the world’s foremost experts on bipolar disorder (formerly known as Manic-Depressive Illness). Not only does she teach about it, but she also was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her youth.

During an interview, Dr. Jamison was asked about her views on the value of psychiatric medications and counseling for bipolar patients. Her response was something like, “Psychiatry has kept me alive, but psychotherapy [talk therapy counseling] has taught me how to live!”

For your own benefit, and for the sake of your loved ones, why not seek professional help right now in this crisis? Ask your family doctor, a nurse, your friends, or support group members for names of helpful professionals in whom they have confidence.

Action Step: Determine what are your biggest obstacles to reaching out for professional help. Find a way to “make it happen” and get an appointment.

This is an excerpt from my book, 9 Critical Steps to Take in a Mental Health Crisis. To find out more, please click here.


Hi, I'm Jim. I've been through the emotional wringer. I've been a successful pastor and leader and a loving father, but I've also been suicidally depressed. I'll teach you the techniques I used to heal myself, and give you the tools to reclaim your life and move forward!

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