ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More people are seeking mental health treatment than ever before. The CDC reports more than 21 percent of people are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. But what keeps our mental health professionals sane? And what can we learn from them? Ivanhoe talks to one therapist to find out what is in her own mental health toolkit.
Washington University Psychiatrist, Jessi Gold helps people through tough situations. She says, “Our work is really hard, and we listen to really hard things all day.”
Diagnosed with depression during her college days at the University of Pennsylvania, she shares insights into how she balances the stresses of work and life. First and foremost, in her mental health toolkit: therapy.
Doctor Gold says, “We wouldn’t come to work if we didn’t know how to manage it. And one way we manage it is often getting treatment ourselves.”
Doctor Gold also asks herself routinely, how am I doing? And she says it’s important to track your answers. A few apps to help are Daylio and iMood journal. They help you see trends so you can deal with
Coping starts the minute her day begins. Morning routines center her.
“I exercise, walk my dog. I have a little dog, she’s helpful for that in a lot of ways, but also dogs have a lot of emotional sensing and they’re really good in that way.”
At work, Doctor Gold keeps a stress ball handy to refocus.
Freewriting a journal is another essential practice.
But Doctor Gold knows everything doesn’t work for everybody. For example, she can’t wrap her mind around mindfulness.
Doctor Gold says, “I’ve tried it every which way and I can’t get myself to like it.”
Most importantly, Doctor Gold wants you to know it’s ok not to be perfect.
“I would love to say that I practice what I preach, but I would say I’m a work in progress.”
One more piece of advice from Doctor Jessi Gold, it’s healthy to set boundaries. That means you don’t always have to say yes. You can learn to say no to things and people that don’t make you happy.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
I’M A PSYCHIATRIST & THIS IS MY MENTAL HEALTH TOOLKIT FOR MYSELF
BACKGROUND: An individual’s mental health is a culmination of their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The condition of one’s mental health affects how they feel, think, and handle certain factors such as stress. The health of one’s mental state is important no matter your age or socioeconomic status. Mental illnesses are disorders, and they play a toll on an individual’s thought patterns, mood, and conduct. The National Institute of Mental Health declares that 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness. There are various factors that contribute to mental health such as trauma, abuse, genes, or family history. There are many kinds of mental health illnesses such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, among many others. It’s important to watch yourself and your loved ones closely as mental health problems typically have early warning signs that present themselves in individuals. These symptoms include having little to no energy, eating in excess or eating in a deficit, feeling helpless, thoughts of self-harm, and several other behaviors that can indicate a mental difficulty.
DIAGNOSIS: To effectively diagnose a mental illness a doctor typically needs to conduct a physical exam to cancel out the possibility that the symptoms could be due to a physical ailment in the individual’s body. Next, lab tests are ordered to ensure the symptoms present aren’t due to an abuse of drugs/alcohol on the individual’s part. Also, a malfunctioning thyroid could play a role as well. Lastly, a psychological evaluation is administered so that a licensed mental health professional can discuss the person’s symptoms, feelings, and thoughts. Treatment for mental illness varies depending on the severity of the disorder classified. For mild cases with carefully controlled symptoms, a primary physician can manage an individuals’ treatment plan solo. However, for extreme mental illnesses like schizophrenia, a treatment team usually comprised of a primary care doctor, nurse practitioner, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, pharmacist, social worker, and family member is needed.
NEW REGULATIONS: The implementation of technology in mental health treatment has given patients and providers new ways to seek help and monitor progress. With access to a phone or a computer anyone can contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to receive resources and professional counsel. Newer technology places built-in sensors in apps to record an individual’s typical behavior and reports the information to a medical professional if it indicates a mental crisis is on the horizon. There have been a plethora of mental health apps created in the last few years with advantageous outcomes. However, with new technology often comes many questions – “Does the app offer recommendations for what to do if symptoms get worse in an individual?”, “How does the app maker guarantee users’ privacy?” While the presence of mental health apps is a great aid in the evolvement of mental well-being, be sure to ask a licensed healthcare provider for their opinion and suggestions.
* For More Information, Contact:
Judy Martin Finch
Diane Duke Williams
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk