Debunking Myths Around BIPOC Mental Health

Talking about mental health has been considered almost taboo for decades in BIPOC communities. It is our focus to raise awareness and help affirm the positive affects of mental health support. Let’s dive into five common myths (shared by Mental Health America) that may exist around this topic.

Myth #1: “Talking about my feelings and needing help is a sign of weakness.”

It’s normal to need support from time to time and talking with others is a great way to get that. Some people in BIPOC communities might believe that being “strong” means they don’t face stress or emotional struggles and can just keep moving forward after a traumatic event. Others may feel that the challenges they face aren’t anyone else’s business. However, being vulnerable about how you are feeling and accepting help when you need it requires a great deal of strength. By speaking up about your feelings and needs, you set an example for others to tend to their own mental and emotional health.

Myth #2: “What happens in the family should stay in the family.”

Family is important to many. Depending on your preferences or how you grew up, you might believe that sharing challenges going on within the family is inappropriate. You may have been taught that family concerns should stay “behind closed doors” or that you shouldn’t “air your dirty laundry in public.” Some may also have been taught that seeking mental health care would bring shame to their family.
However, sharing your feelings and experiences with friends or professionals you trust can be extremely valuable to you and your family. You might learn healthy coping or communication skills that would benefit you, but would also positively impact your family dynamic. Because we are all interconnected, anything you do to take care of yourself naturally helps take care of your family.

Myth #3: “Therapy is for ‘crazy’ people.”

Therapy is for everyone. No matter what stage of life you are in, and wherever you are in your mental health journey, talking to a therapist who understands you can be extremely beneficial. Therapy can help you view yourself with more compassion, improve your relationships, set goals for yourself and so much more. BIPOC celebrities, such as Charlamagne tha God and many others, have opened up about the positive impact therapy has had on their lives. BIPOC athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka shared that therapy was important for them after taking a break from competitions to take care of their mental health. Celebrity or not, therapy is something we can allbenefit from as humans since we are hard-wired for connection.

Myth #4: “Mental illness is a white people problem.”

Just like we all have physical health and sometimes get sick, we all have mental health and can experience mental health conditions. According to recent statistics, 17% of Black/African Americans, 15% of Latine/Hispanic Americans, 13% of Asian Americans, and 23% of First Nations people live with a mental health condition.While the field of psychology is growing more diverse; the majority of psychologists in the U.S. are white. With this in mind, it can seem as though going to therapy is only something white people do. It is important for people from BIPOC communities to receive culturally responsive care when in therapy. Therapists providing culturally responsive care will work to understand your cultural background, validate your experiences of discrimination and stigma, and also apologize for any communication errors that cause harm. 

Myth #5: “If you’re struggling, you aren’t praying enough.”

Struggling with your mental health does not mean that you are being spiritually tested or punished for your sins. We all need support with our mental health sometimes.Spiritual support can come in many forms, such as the people and resources that are put in your path to help you heal. Working with a mental health professional can supplement other sources of spiritual or emotional support, and many therapists are also spiritually-minded. Finding someone who shares your religion or recognizes the importance of faith in your life can make your healing experience more personal and effective.

SouthEnd Psychiatry wants you to be well and to feel well in life. We invite you to start a conversation with us, on your terms, in-person or online and want you to know you’re not alone.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

How Psychiatrists Can Help Teenage Girls

The teenage years are a significant period of growth. Adolescent girls experience an immense amount of social pressure; they’re growing up but still need guidance. Psychiatrists play a crucial role in helping teen girls navigate through the many challenges of the adolescent years, particularly when it comes to mental health management. Keep reading to learn more.

Address Mental Health Needs

The teenage years are packed with things that can impact an adolescent girl’s mental health. Hormonal changes and social pressures are at an all-time high. For many teenagers, this is the first time they may deal with things like peer pressure and anxiety. According to The Zebra, 36% of young girls feel extremely anxious daily. Psychiatrists can help teenagers learn about their mental health and how to cope with anxiety, depression, and more.

Provide a Safe Environment

Teenagers may face things they don’t feel comfortable discussing with their parents. A psychiatrist provides a safe environment where teenagers can discuss challenges related to friendships, romantic relationships, and other problems without worrying about consequences. While professionals are required by law to tell parents if their child is an imminent danger to themselves, teenage patients have the right to confidential therapy sessions.

Conduct Comprehensive Assessments

While it’s normal to experience a range of emotions, such as depression, stress, and anxiety, there are times that these emotions are a sign of an underlying disorder. A psychiatrist is qualified to perform a comprehensive assessment to determine if a teen has an underlying mental illness. They can then correctly diagnose a teenager, ensuring your child gets the help they need.

Manage Mental Illness

A professional psychiatrist can help teens manage existing mental illnesses. They’re qualified to prescribe medicine and provide medication management. These professionals know resources available throughout the community that can provide further assistance. Your teen’s doctor can also provide therapy to help manage symptoms and improve day-to-day functioning.

Involve Parents When Necessary

Parents usually want to be involved with their teenagers but often don’t know how. It’s challenging to connect with teenagers and decipher what they need from you. Parents may also need to learn more about specific mental illnesses. With the teen’s consent, a psychiatrist can work with the patient’s family to provide education as well as address mental health challenges the teen may need assistance with at home.

Here at SouthEnd Psychiatry, we offer evidence-based treatment options, assessments, and more. Your teenager can come to us for telepsychiatry, medication management, and talk therapy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What Does Mental Health Look Like for Men

June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month and SouthEnd Psychiatry is raising awareness for this less publicized yet critically vital topic.

As Healthline.com writes, there’s still a stigma around men’s mental health, making it more difficult for males of all ages to reach out for help. Some men might still feel as if people expect them to hide their emotions and “man up,” or be strong for others. Having or acknowledging a mental health condition is still seen as a sign of weakness or lack of masculinity among some men.

Mental Health America (MHA) adds that more than six million American men experience symptoms of depression annually and most go undiagnosed. Let’s dive into what causes those stressors.

Stressful Transitions

An article published by Medical News Today states that situational stressors play a major role in suicide deaths among males, many of whom do not have a documented mental health history, according to a 2021 analysis from the CDC. These stressors can include anything from relationship troubles to arguments, but all indicate a need for “support during stressful transitions.”

Stumbling Blocks for Men of Color

The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that just 1 in 3 Black adults with mental illness receives treatment, despite the fact that they are more likely to experience emotional distress than white adults. Generational racial trauma and violence against people of color, as played out in the news media, intensify this distress.

Unlikely Symptoms

A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, found that symptoms of depression in males can be physiological, such as a racing heart, digestive issues, or headaches. Males may be more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms.The organization also notes that men who experience depression may self-medicate with alcohol and other substances. However, this can exacerbate their issues and put them at risk of other health conditions.

What You Can Do

While it is becoming more and more acceptable for men to seek therapy, it is vital that we continue advocating for men’s mental health. Talk to your male loved ones. Check in with them. If they are experiencing depression, anger, anxiety or any other stressor, SouthEnd is here to help.

SouthEnd Psychiatry wants you to be well and to feel well in life. We invite you to start a conversation with us, on your terms, in-person or online and want you to know you’re not alone.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

Learn. Act. Advocate.

This month, we spotlight May’s Mental Health Month and recognize the importance of mental health and its impact on our personal and professional lives. This month is dedicated to prioritizing our well-being and promoting open conversations about mental health.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World”. Mental Health America gives us three areas to start: learn, act and advocate.

LEARN: 

To fully understand how the world around us affects mental health, it is important to know what factors are at play – some of which an individual can change, such as screen time, and others that may be outside of their control, like access to basic resources or current events. Social drivers of health include economic status, education, your neighborhood, social inclusion, and access to resources like nutritious food, health care, green space, and transportation. 

All of these factors can have a far-reaching impact on not just your physical health, but also your mental health. Loneliness, current events, technology, and social drivers are having an impact on the mental well-being of Americans, but there are protective measures that can prevent mental health conditions from developing or keep symptoms from becoming worse or severe.

ACT: 

There are many ways to take action – big and small – to improve mental health and increase resiliency, regardless of the situations you are dealing with. Knowing when to turn to friends, family, and coworkers when you are struggling with life’s challenges can help improve your mental health. Change is hard, but it’s unavoidable in life. It’s important to find coping skills that can help you process these changes, prioritize your mental well-being, and accept the situations in life that we can’t control. 

ADVOCATE: 

“Advocacy” doesn’t always mean talking to a government official or local leader. There are things everyone can do to improve the way mental health conditions are perceived and treated. Integrating mental health care into primary care, and providing mental health programs in schools, workplaces, and communities can improve the well-being of everyone. In an election year, it’s especially important to understand where candidates stand on mental health issues. We urge everyone to vote with mental health in mind.

Let’s make May a month of mental health awareness, support, and action. SouthEnd Psychiatry wants you to be well and to feel well in life. We invite you to start a conversation with us, on your terms, in-person or online and want you to know you’re not alone.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

Why Is It Essential to Find a Psychiatrist to Address Mental Illness Concerns?

Mental health is just as important as your physical health, although many people still struggle to see this. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 22.8% of adults were dealing with a mental illness in the U.S. in 2021. Getting the right type of help and treatment is essential to your quality of life and safety if you have mental health concerns. Let’s look at a few reasons why you should find a psychiatrist to help you with mental health issues.

Rapid Progression

You should be aware that mental illnesses can be progressive. This means that without the right treatment and intervention, these problems can get worse over time. Many people still feel that there is a stigma surrounding their mental health problems. This can lead to feelings of shame which then only make the mental health issues worse. You need to get the right treatment before your issues escalate.

Increased Loneliness

When someone is battling a mental illness, they often isolate themselves so that they don’t burden others. This can sometimes lead to feelings of shame, which in turn makes the mental health issues worse. When you seek out help from a psychiatrist, you’ll experience the relief of knowing that you’re not alone on this journey. You’ll find community and resources that can help you on your journey toward healing.

Unsafe Feelings

When monitoring behaviors related to mental illness, it’s important to find a qualified psychiatrist who can properly treat and monitor the patient. Without intervention, some types of mental health illnesses can start to spiral and behaviors can become increasingly unsafe. Not only can this pose safety risks for yourself, but it can also put those around you in danger.

3 Stress-Reducing Coping Skills

April is Stress Awareness Month. Learning to cope with our stress and finding healthy ways to deal with these situations can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life. Let’s take a look at a few things we can do to reduce stress and anxiety.

1. Avoid the Panic

Overthinking refers to the excessive and repetitive thinking or dwelling on a particular topic, problem, or situation. We can start to change these habits by asking ourselves if these concerns are based on facts or assumptions. Practicing mindfulness and developing a trusted support system can help break patterns of overthinking.

2. Be You

Take some time to get in touch with yourself, to identify and reconnect with what makes you… YOU! Make a list of some of the values you have and how you can still carry those in your community. If you are a naturally generous person then KEEP BEING GENEROUS to people around you. Do you have a gift of making people laugh? Then really grab hold of it and spread some cheer in your neighborhood. Embracing these things about yourself will help keep you grounded and out of too much negative thinking. 

3. Self-Care

What is refreshing to you? Recharging? What gives you energy? The activities you come up with are a great place to start with self-care. Remember, it is difficult to encourage, support, be present for your relationships if your tank is empty. Sleep is well-documented to reduce stress levels so don’t feel bad about a quick afternoon nap from time to time if it leads to a better you! Be intentional about making time for yourself.

Here are a few other things you can consider doing to keep anxiety and stress at manageable levels:

  • Breathing exercises + Mediation
  • Journaling
  • Spend time in nature
  • Stay connected (isolation often leads us to “stinking thinking”!)

SouthEnd Psychiatry wants you to be well and to feel well in life. We invite you to start a conversation with us, on your terms, in-person or online and want you to know you’re not alone.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

4 Questions to Ask When You Call a Psychiatrist’s Office

Tending to your mental health is essential for your overall wellness. Mental illness affects many Americans in the form of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, anger management, and more. Luckily, if you’re dealing with mental illness, there are professional psychiatrists available to assist you. Here are four questions to ask when you call a psychiatrist’s office.

1. What Is Your Treatment Philosophy?

A professional psychiatrist has the same training that others have. However, they may develop a different treatment philosophy that you should learn more about. Ask about their preferred methods of treatment. Some may use psychotherapy, others may incorporate medication management, or others may use a combination of both.

2. What Is Your Availability?

Maybe you have a very tight schedule because of work, school, or family obligations. Of course, our psychiatrists will also have other patients to tend to. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, over 150 million Americans live in federally designated mental health professional shortage areas. If you live in such an area, you may have to compete for your psychiatrist’s time as they may be serving a large population. Make sure you find one who has the right availability for you, even if you have to travel a little further.

3. Can You Tell Me About Your Experience?

When it comes to experience, you may want to learn more about the psychiatrist’s overall training and education. Ask if they have any particular areas of expertise. Are they used to serving particular demographics based on race, gender, age, or other cultures?

4. What Is the Cancellation Policy?

It’s always a good idea to plan for a rainy day or emergency. While you may intend to cancel an appointment, sometimes it can’t be helped. Ask your psychiatrist about how much notice is required to cancel. They may have certain fees for missed appointments. Is there a policy where they no longer agree to treat you if you miss too many appointments in a row?

You may be anxious about seeking help at a local psychiatrist’s office. It’s important to make a few calls ahead of time and ask the right questions until you find the right therapist for you. For an experienced and compassionate psychiatrist who handles medication therapy and talk therapy, look no further than our office. Contact SouthEnd Psychiatry with any questions you may have so we can ensure we’re the right fit for your treatment.

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and How Can it Help Me?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of effective psychological treatment for depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. 

Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications, referenced at ada.org.

According to the American Psychological Association, the core concepts of CBT include:

  • psychological issues are partly based on unhelpful ways of thinking
  • psychological issues are partly based on learned patterns of behavior
  • those living with these issues can improve with better coping mechanisms and management to help relieve their symptoms

Healthline provides some of the most popular techniques used in CBT:

  • SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited.
  • Guided discovery and questioning. By questioning the assumptions you have about yourself or your current situation, your therapist can help you learn to challenge these thoughts and consider different viewpoints.
  • Journaling. You might be asked to jot down negative beliefs that come up during the week and the positive ones you can replace them with.
  • Self-talk. Your therapist may ask what you tell yourself about a certain situation or experience and challenge you to replace negative or critical self-talk with compassionate, constructive self-talk.
  • Cognitive restructuring. This involves looking at any cognitive distortions affecting your thoughts — such as black-and-white thinking, jumping to conclusions, or catastrophizing — and beginning to unravel them.
  • Thought recording. In this technique, you’ll record thoughts and feelings experienced during a specific situation, then come up with unbiased evidence supporting your negative belief and evidence against it. You’ll use this evidence to develop a more realistic thought.
  • Positive activities. Scheduling a rewarding activity each day can help increase overall positivity and improve your mood. Some examples might be buying yourself fresh flowers or fruit, watching your favorite movie, or taking a picnic lunch to the park.
  • Situation exposure. This involves listing situations or things that cause distress, in order of the level of distress they cause, and slowly exposing yourself to these things until they lead to fewer negative feelings. Systematic desensitization is a similar technique where you’ll learn relaxation techniques to help you cope with your feelings in a difficult situation.

How CBT Can Help

Healthline states that typical CBT treatment often involves the following:

  • recognizing how inaccurate thinking can worsen problems
  • learning new problem-solving skills
  • gaining confidence and a better understanding and appreciation of your self-worth
  • learning how to face fears and challenges
  • using role play and calming techniques when faced with potentially challenging situations

The goal of these techniques is to replace unhelpful or self-defeating thoughts with more encouraging and realistic ones.

CBT can help with a range of things, including:

  • depression
  • substance misuse
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and phobia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • eating disorders

CBT can also help with:

  • grief and loss
  • chronic pain
  • insomnia
  • relationship difficulties like a breakup or divorce
  • a serious health diagnosis, such as cancer

If you are interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, SouthEnd Psychiatry is here for you. Our amazing team of licensed therapists are ready to walk along side you in this journey. 

Contact Southend Psych today to inquire about appointment availability and get you on your way to a better place.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

What Mental Wellness Looks Like in 2024

As we recognize and raise awareness for Mental Wellness Month this January, we would like to take a look at what mental wellness looks like in 2024. Times have changed. I think we can all agree on that. COVID has changed the behavior of society in so many ways. Racial tension and social disparities are on the rise. Economic stress is affecting all walks of life. This is the day we are living in. 

We want to recognize these as real triggers for most of us. As we embark on this new year, it is so important to acknowledge these issues and stressors and be intentional to keep ourselves healthy and whole. A few ways we can do this is through mindfulness, rest and connection.

Mindfulness

The term “mindfulness” is becoming more and more widely known. As stated by discoverymood.com, practicing mindfulness is about being aware and accepting at the same time. We often pride ourselves on staying busy and thinking ahead. Mindfulness challenges us to show up fully in every area of our lives. It is the embodiment of living in the moments. 

Check in on yourself. Where is your stress level? Are you feeling hopeless or helpless? If so, it is critical to take action by calling a friend, mentor or a licensed professional like the team at Southend Psychiatry.

Rest

Allowing ourselves to rest involves our mind, body and spirit. Resting isn’t just about getting a proper eight hours of sleep each night or avoiding your phone and electronics before bed. It is also giving yourself little breaks throughout the day. Meditation is a great tool to help slow the mind, release anxious thoughts and breathe deeply. This lowers our cortisol levels and resets the body with just a few minutes of commitment. 

Developing a meditation practice not only has been shown to help lengthen our attention span and reduce age-related memory loss but may also help fight addictions, control pain and decrease blood pressure.

Connection

We are social creatures… even those that would consider themselves as an introvert. Our spirit needs connection. It is a way to feel heard and understood. Connection gives us a sense of belonging. executive.berkeley.edu/ says that because social connection is so hard-wired into human behavior, it makes sense that our relationships (or lack thereof) significantly influence our well-being. 

Connections can be just as important to physical and mental health as exercise and healthy eating. Research has shown that the psychological and physical health benefits of social contact are so great that they can even outweigh the harmful effects of other risk factors and boost life expectancy.

As you embark on this new year, we want to encourage you to be intentional about keeping yourself mentally well. If you need help or guidance, SouthEnd Psychiatry is here for you. Our amazing team of licensed therapists are ready to walk along side you in this journey. 

Contact Southend Psych today to inquire about appointment availability and get you on your way to a better place.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

5 Ways to Create Healthy Boundaries with Family

The holidays are here which for many means A LOT of potential family time. So, let’s look at five ways to set healthy boundaries ahead of the holiday season. 

Boundary issues are the most difficult to deal with when it comes to family. 

According to Terri Cole, author of The Boundary Boss, our boundaries are made up of our preferences, desires, limits, and deal-breakers. Think of your boundaries as your own personal rules of engagement.

Boundaries can be uncomfortable and even painful for some…until you practice the skill. Remember, you don’t need to sacrifice your identity in order to receive love or be accepted. Know what you will or will not tolerate from others. Draw the line and enforce it.

Here are five ways to establish those healthy boundaries:

  1. Define what your boundaries are. What will you tolerate or not tolerate in your life? What behaviors will you accept or not accept from family members? 
  2. Clearly communicate your boundaries.  This is particularly important for the people closest to you. Give them the chance to honor your preferences.
  3. Follow through. If someone crosses your boundaries, do what you said you would. Be compassionate, but be firm. This might be a new side of you that no one has seen before. 
  4. Show the respect you want to receive. Begin to really listen to what others prefer. Lead by example. Honor others boundaries.
  5. Keep loving yourself. It is not mean or selfish to have boundaries. Some will respect them. Others will not. How people treat you is a direct reflection of how you allow them to treat you. 

Boundaries are healthy. Establishing and keeping them is hard work. However, it is worth it!  SouthEnd Psychiatry is here for you. Our amazing team of licensed therapists are ready to walk along side you in this journey. 

Contact Southend Psych today to inquire about appointment availability and get you on your way to a better place.

Southend Psychiatry 

Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.

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