Many of us have mental health concerns from time to time. When ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function then it could be time to think about getting some help. Poor mental health can make you miserable and can cause problems in your daily life, such as at work, socially or in relationships.
My work with mental health issues
Mental health conditions are often complicated and the result of many factors. It is often the case that the cause is unknown. The following factors I have found play a major role and continue to be the focus of my work with clients.
It's often the case that traumatic experiences such as the loss of a loved one, an accident or abusive relationships can trigger mental health issues. A traumatic experience can change a person's perception of the world and may experience feelings of anger, helplessness, fear, guilt and shame.
Over time and without the right support maladaptive behaviours can begin to emerge that once served an appropriate purpose in protecting, but now inhibit relationships or a sense of worth.
It is often the case that other internal psychological factors also play a part in our mental well being. Feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, and stress over a prolonged period can have a major impact on our mental health and subsequent ability to be at peace with ourselves and others.
Physical (biological) causes
Some research suggests that the occurrence of genetic 'predispositions' passed down from parents impact our mental health.
Other studies suggest that a baby is at greater risk in its early development if its mother takes drugs or contracts a virus during pregnancy.
Psychotic symptoms can develop after head injuries sustained in an accident.
Social and environmental causes
Our surroundings and company can have an influence on our mental health that includes:
Where we live or work
Relationships with family, friends and co-workers
Experience of exclusion, discrimination or stigma
Men in particular can find it hard to reach out for help
I have also worked extensively with bereavement and loss and offer both counselling and therapy for prolonged grief.
As we attempt to adapt to loss we often try to find meaning and make sense of what is happening to us. This is where grief counselling can help to process the grief and adapt to a reality without the deceased. Just as important is to begin to find a way to remember those we have lost whilst we embark on the rest of lifes journey.
Grief can be prolonged or delayed. It can also manifest as an exaggerated grief response or through some masked somatic or behavioural symptom. I have experienced this many times with clients where excessive anxiety or depressive responses have their roots in a loss, sometimes for many years. The goal of the grief therapy I provide is to identify and resolve the conflicts that inhibit our ability to complete, or even start, the mourning process.