Removing the Stigma of Therapy During Mental Health Awareness Month
Hannah Comeaux is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is also the owner of Comeaux Counseling and Consulting in Lafayette. She joined us on Acadiana's Morning News.
Hannah Comeaux: May is Mental Health Awareness Month! I believe as a society we are becoming more aware of our mental health and the importance of taking care of ourselves, but I also think that there is still some stigmas attached to mental health that others may not be aware of.
How do we fight the stigma of mental health?
We fight the mental health stigma by talking about it. Everyone has baggage and things that affect us and if we leave those emotions or issues unprocessed it can manifest as depression, anxiety, or other issues, as well as physical problems. I believe the more we talk about it, the more we realize that we are not alone.
It’s important to remember that mental and physical health are both equally important. Most of us go for an annual checkup to the doctor to prevent further health issues and it’s usually covered by the insurance company. The same should go for mental health. A lot of times, individuals come to therapy with symptoms that they have been struggling with for a long time before finally seeking help. You may not be aware that your insurance may cover most of your counseling session cost and you may only need to pay a co-pay. Also, depending on your insurance plan, some companies may pay a certain number of sessions a year that are completely covered without you even having to pay a co-pay. I encourage you to find out what benefits your company offers. You may be pleasantly surprised to see that you have been missing out on benefits you haven’t taken advantage of yet.
Discuss any fears that you may have about therapy. Maybe you haven’t reached out for help because of fear. For example, the fear of not knowing what to expect from therapy, the fear of what people will think, or the fear of what others may think of you. I want to encourage you not to let fear hold you back from living your best life. If you are nervous or have questions on what to expect from therapy, ask if the therapist offers a phone consultation before you schedule your appointment. You can ask questions and get a feel whether that person is going to be a good fit for you. I offer all potential clients a free 15-minute phone consultation to discuss ways I can help them before they even schedule an appointment. No strings attached.