Off The Dome 🤯: The Importance of Mental Wellness by Indea Powe, LCSW
Have you all EVER had that adult who wanted you to take their advice SO badly, that they would constantly, and I do mean constantly, get their friends, your older siblings, cousins, and even coaches to talk to you? Well, I’m like one of those “friends” of your parents’, coming to blog to you about the importance of dealing with your DOME b.k.a “your mental.” A little background information about me, I’ve been a mental health provider for about 5 years and I received my Clinical license in social work, approximately a year ago. I am currently a counselor at Illinois Wesleyan University! Let’s rewind a bit! During my time as a therapist at ABC Family & Counseling Services, I developed MAD anxiety: I’m talking anxiety attacks, waking up anxious, stomach aches, nausea, ruminating thoughts, being hyper-aware, irritable and eventually; I needed to start going to see my own therapist. I thought to myself, “I need help, I’m changing!” And well, I was! My mental health was declining and because there was and still is SO much stigma attached to mental health, especially in the black community; I did not want to be THAT girl with “mental health problems.” Yep, me, someone with a Master’s of Social Work, 3 years of counseling at the time, and an advocate for mental health; struggled to admit that my own mental health wasn’t well.
See, the truth is we all have a mental! We all have mental health! We all have things going through our psyches (known and unbeknownst to us), we all have stressors, some form of trauma and/or difficult thing(s) to manage and or navigate. Yet, we get this idea that we don’t need to take care of our mental health in the same ways that we would or do take care of our physical health (if and when we are physically hurting). I want to encourage our youth, our parents, our supporters, and random viewers who will come across this post; that mental hurts are just as important, if not more important, than physical hurts. I want to share 5 points with you that will ultimately: inform, encourage, and be a catalyst towards your perspective about mental-wellness and counseling.
1). PLEASE know, that what you’re going through, MATTERS!!! It’s VERY okay and acceptable NOT to be OKAY.
2). If your mental health is not properly tended to, you WILL begin to experience physical reactions in your body. Did you know, that unaddressed mental stress can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and obesity? This fact is backed by clinical research! Yep, your mental health deals with your brain, but impacts your ENTIRE body, heck your mental health impacts your entire BEING. This last one is hard. Untreated mental trauma increases chances of suicide. We DO NOT want to lose you!!!
3). Counseling, therapy, & speaking to a professional can literally heal your brain. Yes, you read that correctly! Our brains are made of this cool substance called neuroplasticity. When we process our problems, our brains begin to create new neuro-pathways that allow our brains to have new and healthy ways of responding. Because our brain is plastic: our brains can be molded, healed, and trained to do better when we receive proper counsel. Now, that’s prettyyyy dope, don’t stunt. When our brains are well, our bodies are well, THEN, we are well.
4). There are local resources that can provide counseling at a reduce cost or even free of charge. Churches: who may pay or have mental health providers that provide sliding scale services OR pro-bono services. Not for profits: if you have insurance or a medical card! Or Integrity Counseling, which is a “pay what you can” counseling center that’s located locally to help improve the mental well-being of Bloomington/Normal communities'.
5). Again, your experiences, your mental, your MIND, YOU, it ALL matters!!! Get a, “check up from the neck up” and take care of your mental. YOU’RE worth it! 😉