Proactive Mental Health Care: Does your Relationship, or your Family, Need a Tune-Up?
Recently I received a call from a mother who had recently moved to a new city, requesting an appointment for her family. There was, she explained, no problem that qualified as a crisis, but she wanted to make sure she and her spouse were doing everything possible to help their family adjust to the move and especially to help their children transition to new schools. Because she had had a previous positive experience, this mom viewed professional counseling as a resource that could help family members navigate through a predictable life cycle change and provide extra support as they adjusted to their new routines.
Couples, families and individuals do not need to be in crisis to benefit from a mental health consultation. A family therapist can work with adults, adolescents and children to identify strengths, assess risk factors, and develop new skills for communication, stress management and problem solving.
Many people find it easier to be proactive when it comes to physical health than mental and emotional well-being. According to the Center for Disease Control, 62 million Americans have mood disorders or mental illness, but only a third have consulted a professional within the past year. Research shows that poor mental health increases the risk for chronic physical conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer. Becoming proactive about mental health can help us heal from past hurts and live life in accordance with our most deeply held values.