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Let’s talk: How to discuss your behavioral health illness

Let’s talk: How to discuss your behavioral health illness

You’ve been diagnosed with a behavioral health illness. What do you tell people? How do you share? Who do you tell?

You may have mixed emotions over these questions, and that’s perfectly fine. Know that being scared is normal, and anticipating how friends, family, coworkers etc. will react to your diagnosis is natural.

The decision to openly talk about your diagnosis is a personal one, and you don’t have to share until you’re ready. Do realize, however, that you may never be 100 percent ready. Think about it – are we ever 100 percent ready to do anything that’s difficult in life? But, stepping out of your comfort zone, knowing you have people who are there for you and facing your fears head-on, will likely help you move forward in your journey toward recovery.

Below, we offer some advice to keep in mind when preparing to discuss a mental health diagnosis.

It’s just an illness.
It’s plain and simple. You live with it just like any other person with an illness – diabetes, for example – lives with it. And, just like any other illness, it can be managed and treated once identified.

Most people just need to be educated.
Approach your conversations knowing you’re educating those around you about mental health – not telling them what’s ‘wrong’ with you. The truth of the matter is, most people simply don’t understand mental illnesses because they’ve never been taught the ins and outs. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn or hear what you have to say. Remember – it’s just an illness and does not define you. Explain this to them.

You choose who you’re surrounded by.
There’s really no rule for who you need to tell because you get to choose who knows about your behavioral health illness. Choose to be surrounded by people who will support you on the good days and the bad. Need someone to help you decide who this is in your life? A mental health professional, such as a South Bay clinician, can guide you through this decision.

If you’re looking for further guidance on how to talk about your behavioral health illness, consider speaking to a South Bay clinician. Our mental health and substance abuse clinicians treat each individual with specific programs tailored to their needs. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Whether you’re a college freshman who’s independent for the first time or a college senior who’s tasked with landing a job upon graduation, students of all ages deal with a lot of change, which can often be stressful and scary.

It’s true that your college years can be some of the best years of your life. But, we won’t sugar coat it – life in college can definitely be hectic, demanding and intimidating for some. The good news is you’re not the only one feeling this way. Experiencing anxiety over major life changes is normal. Some levels of stress can actually be a good thing, as the right kind of stress can lead us toward positive change and growth. However, stress and anxiety become a problem and a health risk for students when they exist for an extended period of time and seem impossible to control.

Whether it’s social or academic pressures, it’s important to seek resolutions from healthy outlets instead of harmful ones – such as drugs and alcohol. There are several resources available on campus to help you cope with and manage student stress. If you feel you need further guidance and support, these resources can connect you with a therapist – such as a South Bay clinician.

Whether you’re entering college or leaving college, know that it’s not a weakness to feel anxious about these life changes, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Below, we outline a few of the most common stressors students experience, plus advice on how to take steps toward coping with them.

Living away from home

For many students, college is the first step toward complete independence. Experiencing this in an unfamiliar environment can be intimidating – especially since your support environment has changed. If you’re struggling with a lack of in-person support, connect with a South Bay clinician. A one-on-one session between you and a clinician will allow for a deep examination of your life, emotions and relationships. Treatment pace is based on your vision – it’s a balance of minimizing risk and achieving your goals. Our clinicians’ primary goal is to build a deep trust and understanding with you while guiding you through anxiety-management techniques.

Academic demands

Academic demands in college may be very different and more intense than they were in high school. Test anxiety symptoms can come in both physical and mental forms. If this anxiety hinders you from performing your best on an exam, seek assistance from academic advisors who can provide you with guidance. The on-campus academic services office should be able to arrange a tutor or other academic help.

Financial problems

Experiencing financial responsibility for the first time can be scary. Whether it’s textbooks, food, gas or social life, college can be expensive, and figuring out ways to budget your expenses is necessary. The financial aid office will have information and advice about money management, on-campus job openings and scholarship opportunities.

South Bay’s outreach program is unparalleled to any other behavioral health service in the area, which gives our clinicians the opportunity to physically reach those who need us most no matter their circumstances or where they are, including colleges.

Are you a parent feeling anxious about sending your child off to college? We understand how stressful the process can be. Counseling sessions with a South Bay clinician could benefit you, as well.

If you think you could benefit from our counseling sessions, we encourage you to contact South Bay Community Services. We strive to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. Let us help you have the best possible beginning this school year!

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Trauma: Understanding and recovering from it

Trauma: Understanding and recovering from it

Trauma can come from various life instances, and the recovery process can look different for different people. For some, it takes a period of time to heal from trauma. For others, seeking professional treatment is necessary for recovery.

Everyday situations might trigger flashbacks, which may lead to feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, guilt or numbness. Coping skills and grounding techniques are used to work through past traumatic experiences, especially when a painful flashback from the event resurfaces.

Below, we offer tips on how you can begin taking steps towards recovering from a traumatic event.

Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you overcome the side effects from trauma. When first learning how to meditate, try using a guided meditation app. One such app is Insight Timer. Insight Timer offers free, guided meditations, meditation music and group discussion options.

Deep breathing

Increased respiration is one of your body’s fight-or-flight responses. During a moment of panic, focus on breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay close attention to how your body reacts when talking or thinking about the traumatic event and identify coping skills that make your mind and body feel calm. Commonly used coping skills are muscle relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga or spending time outside.

Talk to someone

After experiencing a traumatic event, it is important to talk to someone you trust, such as a therapist, a family member or a friend. Find someone who will listen without interrupting and won’t be judgemental. Lean on these individuals while learning how to cope with your trauma.

If you or someone you know is looking for further guidance on how to recover from a past trauma, consider speaking to a South Bay clinician. Our trauma-focused therapy treats each individual with a specific program tailored to your needs and provides you with the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. During a session, you can expect the clinician to provide you with examples of different types of trauma and help you determine symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

What’s next? How to maintain good mental health post-care

What’s next? How to maintain good mental health post-care

In a hospital or medical setting, mental health challenges can be addressed and managed in a structured environment. Mental health treatment facilities provide you with the tools and guidance needed to live a better, healthier life. However, once your treatment is completed, many wonder…what’s next?

It’s important to understand that treatment doesn’t end after you’re discharged from a facility. Continued guidance is crucial throughout the recovery process. Below, we offer tips on how to maintain good mental health once released from a treatment facility.

Keep your days structured

Continuing to live the structured life you were taught in the hospital can ease your transition. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, plan out your meals at the beginning of the week, schedule set times to exercise and have specific days you tackle chores around the house. Setting up a regular schedule and following it can help relieve life’s stressors. You might be surprised at how happy and accomplished you feel after completing a healthy, productive week!

Practice self-care

Make a point to involve yourself in activities you enjoy – no matter how big or small! Take up journaling, painting or even a new language. Anything that challenges you to stay motivated can help you in your transition.

Work on self-soothing

How can you work around your challenges outside of the structured hospital environment? What techniques can you practice when you’re feeling anxious? It’s important to be mindful of things you can do to self-soothe when life’s stressors rear their ugly heads. Our clinicians can help you find ways to calm yourself when you’re triggered.

Are you interested in speaking with someone who can offer you further post-care advice? At South Bay, our Day Services program can offer you that ongoing support to live a healthier life after treatment is completed. South Bay is dedicated to improving the lives of people who suffer from psychiatric illness to help them regain control of their situation. We strive to give our patients peace of mind and help open the door for a higher quality of life with fewer frustrations and greater opportunities.

Our Day Services programs provide collaborative psychosocial rehabilitation to adults with psychiatric disabilities, through a shared culture of recovery that extends into the community. Our strengths-based treatment model is designed to address each individual’s unique areas of need and ability.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

Cell phones and your teen’s mental health

Cell phones and your teen’s mental health

We live in a time where everything is easily accessible via our fingertips. Cell phones are an extremely useful invention, allowing us to stay connected with friends and family and up to date on the latest news and trends.

However, this rise in technology has caused new forms of addiction, as the need for acceptance seems to be more important than ever. Teens are under an increasing amount of social pressure, and the Internet and social media have amplified these pressures, leading to increased anxiety and depression in teens. Below, we outline steps you can take to protect your child’s mental and physical health and make digital media a more balanced part of his or her life.

Facilitate face time

Technology can connect and isolate at the same time. Texting and communicating via social platforms are forms of faceless communication. From a young age, it’s essential to teach your child the importance of confronting his or her issues with others in person, rather than behind a cell phone or computer screen.

Instill self-esteem

Social media only shows the highlights of life. It’s easy for teens to compare themselves to others because of this. Let your child know that his or her worth is not defined by how many “likes” he or she gets. Help your child discover passions other than social media and encourage him or her to pursue those things.

Unplug and get outside

Make it a priority to go outside with your child every week – even if it’s just a short walk around the block. Time spent outside and disconnected from the digital world builds confidence and promotes creativity, imagination, responsibility and awareness. It also reduces stress and fatigue.

If you feel your child is struggling with anxiety or depression, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

Is individual or group therapy right for you?

Is individual or group therapy right for you?

When it comes to treating a behavioral health illness of any kind, therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process. If you’re looking for psychotherapy treatment, you may have questions regarding the best option for you – individual or group therapy.

Below, we explain the benefits of each. In many cases, our consumers decide to pursue treatment from both types of therapies, as both options can aid the healing process.

Individual therapy

Individual treatment involves a one-on-one session between you and a clinician, allowing for a deep examination of your life, emotions and relationships. Treatment pace is based on your vision – it’s a balance of minimizing risk and achieving your goals. Our clinicians’ primary goal is to build a deep trust and understanding with you. The overall result is an intense focus on you as an individual, in an effort to explore and conquer difficult topics that might be contributing to your behavioral health challenges.

Group therapy

Group treatment consists of a single clinician and a group of consumers, all of whom are working to treat similar challenges. Depending on the goals and objectives of the group, the purpose of the session is to share experiences, address symptoms and discuss treatment goals. If you feel more comfortable, motivated and accountable surrounded by peers experiencing similar symptoms and challenges, group treatment might be a great option for you.

Are you ready to begin receiving treatment and are interested in learning more about individual therapy, group therapy or both? South Bay Community Services strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. At South Bay, consumers can find the support and guidance they need the most.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.