As she puts it, there’s a shortage of therapists in general, a shortage of therapists that take insurance, and a shortage of therapists with specialized training. None of that will change without significant changes to the mental health system, and even if it did, we still wouldn’t have enough therapists, especially in rural areas.
There are quite a few ideas to consider before you talk to someone you love that I highly encourage you to read. The last thing you want to do is create a situation where they feel judged or stigmatized but it happens more often than it should. (It should never happen, we aren’t even close to that.)
However, there is one thing that I have found really helps whenever someone is talking about their own mental health issues, or feeling embarrassed about considering therapy for themselves and it’s quoted right there in this article:
“If you’ve gone to therapy, you can share your experiences with them, too. It can help to let them know they aren’t alone in seeking help. “
Unfortunately, whether therapy is effective for your child, or for yourself as an adult, depends on a number of factors. Finding someone you can trust is an obvious one, and sometimes a real struggle. Elsewhere in the article, Melinda talks about the child not currently being in a traumatic situation, notably one interviewee who was seeing a therapist for depression while also being sexually abused at home. She knew she could talk about that, so the therapy was doomed from the start.
Sometimes I believe we look at mental health treatments like therapy and dismiss them because “it didn’t work” without considering all of the outside factors that can influence whether it works or not.
I will say that his discussion around what people come into therapy for in terms of defining good mental health is often an issue. When I started therapy I wanted to not dissociate, because the dissociative states were proving to be more and more dangerous. But, it wasn’t like we could sit and discuss plans to simply stop, we had to dig into what happens right before I dissociate and learn better ways of dealing with that. (In my case, stress)
Even then, the desire to simply feel less stress is not always possible. It would have solved the immediate reason why I was in therapy, less stress would make me less likely to dissociate, right? But it also wasn’t sustainable because at some point life is going to be stressful. The key was not to avoid stress but to learn how to recognize it, acknowledge it, feel it, and deal with it in a healthier way.
So yes, I agree our definition of good mental health needs to incorporate much, much more than “not feeling sad, anxious, depressed, etc.” because we will feel those things again at some point. They are unavoidable, but succumbing to them without a proper response is not. We can, and should, learn how to do that.