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Worried About Your Diagnosis…You’re Not Alone (Mental Health Statistics)

Receiving a mental health diagnosis as an adult can be frightening, one with many questions, concerns, and uncertainty on the horizon. It’s not uncommon to experience a wide array of emotions. While the news may issue relief that their feelings are finally validated and explained, others may be disheartened. 

It’s not uncommon to feel denial, sadness, or even shame. However, we’re here to give you the reassurance you need to understand that a mental health diagnosis is not the end of the world, but rather a new beginning with the support and advocacy you need to live a happier life. There will certainly be challenges, but mental illness is manageable — with countless resources, coping strategies, and treatments to support your recovery. 

Where to Start 

First, you need to understand all you can about your diagnosis. When you’re ready, you can seek important information, treatment initiatives, and support channels regarding your specific diagnosis. Your doctors will certainly offer up a good portion of this information, but the more you learn — the better you’ll be able to work with your mental health professional and determine a path that feels right for you. 

If you know someone else that has a similar diagnosis, chat with them about their experiences. This is especially helpful if they’ve been dealing with this specific mental health concern for a considerable amount of time, as they’ll be better equipped to give you the reassurance and guidance you need. If you know any mental health professionals you trust — they can also be a fantastic resource at this time. 

The internet can be a great tool as well but use it sparingly and wisely. Be sure that you’re exploring trusted websites such as the National Institute of Mental Health or Mental Health America. If you find a website with quick fixes or “miracle treatments,” they’re more than likely not a reliable source of information. Look for sites with reputable sources. 

You’re Not Alone (The Data) 

It’s not uncommon to feel a sense of isolation after a mental health diagnosis. However, remember that you’re not alone. You may be surprised to find out just how common mental illness is — and how the stigma surrounding mental health concerns has significantly decreased over the years. 

In the United States, mental illnesses are extremely common. In fact, one in five adults here lives with mental illness. 

There are two categories of mental illness defined by the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). 

  1. Any Mental Illness (AMI) refers to mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders that range from no impairment to severe impairment. 

The prevalence of mental illness in this country cannot be understated, as it gives light to something that many individuals share. The data regarding mental illness shows that over 45 million adults in the U.S. are affected by AMIs. Additionally:

  • Women were more likely to be diagnosed with an AMI by seven percent 
  • Young adults (18-25) have the highest prevalence of AMIs by age group 
  • Over 10 million adults are estimated to have had serious suicidal thoughts 
  1. Serious mental illness (SMI) refers to serious functional impairment from mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. 

SMIs are also prevalent amongst adults, with roughly 11.2 million adults being affected by various conditions. Serious mental illness can be particularly difficult, as they negatively impact one’s ability to live a fulfilling life. Whether it’s by affecting family, work, or healthy living — SMIs require various treatments and management techniques. 

Additional Mental Health Statistics 

It’s imperative for those struggling with a mental health diagnosis to realize that you’re not alone. Whether you’re dealing with moderate to severe issues, there’s a community of support waiting to help guide you through. 

Mental health issues can include: 

  • Anxiety Disorders 
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Personality Disorders
  • Eating Disorders 
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 
  • And more 

Below are some compelling data from the National Institute of Mental Health regarding how many U.S. adults face some of the most common mental illnesses. 

Anxiety disorders – affect roughly 19% of U.S. adults.

Major depressive episodes – impact around 7.1% of U.S. adults. 

Bipolar disorders – reach around 4.4% of all U.S. adults at some point in their lives. 

PTSD – experiences affected roughly 3.6% of adults in the United States last year 

Personality disorders – and borderline personality disorders impacted a combined 10.5% of U.S. adults last year. 

What Can You Do About a Mental Health Diagnosis?

There are many resources, treatments, tools, and support systems available for those struggling with mental illness. Whether it’s in-house counseling or psychiatric care — or even online mental health services, the routes people can take have grown tremendously over the years. 

For some, we understand how difficult it can be to receive this news, but it’s not the end of the world. Every step toward betterment is a step in the right direction. Remember — you’re not alone.

5 Ways to Develop a Positive Mindset That Lasts

You should never underestimate the power of positive thinking. We know we know, it’s cliche and a little outdated, but there is some truth to how a positive mindset can reshape your day and mental health overall for the better. 

The way we view ourselves and the world around us paints an important picture, one that you’ll have to see every day. Studies have shown that positive thinking can have a significant effect on both the mind and the body. Not only can a change in the way you think shift your perspective, but it can also improve your overall mood, boost confidence, and even have physiological effects such as reducing the likelihood of hypertension or depressive symptoms. 

Ok, so what does positive thinking look like? Well, that’s what we’re here to help with. Whether it’s through setting goals, self-talk, or positive imagery — there are a ton of ways you can implement positive thinking into your everyday routine. 

1. Dealing With Negative Self-Talk 

If you’ve landed on this article, it’s safe to say that negative self-talk isn’t a foreign concept. One of the biggest adversaries for a positive mindset is most oftentimes ourselves — and we plague our days with sentiments like:

  • “I’m terrible at this”
  • “I shouldn’t have even tried that” 
  • “I could never make it that far” 
  • “I’ll never accomplish this” 

While these thoughts may seem like fleeting bits of cynicism, they can have lasting effects on our state of being. Over time, they may become cemented as internalized feelings or even beliefs, which may prevent you from living a productive and happy life.

Now, fixing negative self-talk is a simple concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It starts with identifying these moments in your mind when they pop up. If you notice that you’re belittling or discouraging yourself, take a moment to reflect on it. Once you’ve called attention to it, change the perspective, and attempt to redirect the negative self-talk into encouragement. Instead of saying, “I’ll never accomplish this” — try, “with enough practice, I’ll get there.” 

It seems silly and minimal, but it can go a long way if practiced at every turn. Just like with any other feat in life, it takes practice. Dealing with negative self-talk is a step in the right direction, and will help you develop an overall positive mindset. 

2. Mental Breakfast is the Most Important Meal 

You’ve heard the saying; you know what it means. However, here we’re not talking about what you eat, but rather what you reaffirm within yourself every morning. 

The start of each new day brings a breadth of opportunity. Your mornings set the tone — and positive affirmations can be a great addition to your morning routine. We mentioned the impact of negative self-talk above, and it can be especially demoralizing and derailing early on in the day. That’s why giving yourself positive self-talk and assurance in the morning is especially helpful — even if it seems strange. When we say self-talk, we mean it. Anything from, “I’m going to have a good day” to “I’m amazing today” can help set the tone and give you the positive light you need to have a brighter, better day. 

3. Rethinking Failure 

Listen, failing at something isn’t any fun. Whether it’s a task at work, living up to an expectation, or simply making mistakes — we all crash and burn sometimes. 

Well, it’s time to reframe the way we see failure because how we approach our shortcomings can have a real effect on our future. Failure is best understood when we think about it like a road diverged — and no, we’re not talking about Langston Hughes. Instead, we must look at failure as a pathway that leads to two separate destinations. 

  1. Failure can lead to apprehension to try again
  2. Failure can teach us about what not to do

While the first outcome is quite limiting, the second is liberating. Reshaping failure to educate ourselves is the pathway forward while becoming scared to ever try again will stop us dead in our tracks. Far too often, we fixate on our shortcomings and misgivings — but these are moments that can be learned from and are an important part of life. Turn your failures into valuable lessons that you can learn and grow from. 

4. Be Mindful of the Present 

The present is a magical time. It’s a moment that is unappreciated — yet can help those struggling with a positive mindset find clarity. When we’re talking about the present, we don’t mean today — we mean the exact moment you’re in. One of the reasons why those who meditate are able to have some semblance of “peace of mind” is their understanding of the present. 

Many external issues that hinder our ability to connect with a positive mindset make use of our inability to live in the present. What your boss said that made you upset, the guy that cut you off on the way home from work, the big deadline at the end of the week — these are issues that fall outside of the present. 

Learning how to focus on an individual moment and suspend yourself in what is going on at that exact time can be extremely freeing. We’re constantly fighting off thoughts about the past or worries about the future, but in a brief moment — you’re able to find the perspective you need. 

5. Use Support Channels 

Developing a positive mindset doesn’t need to be a solo venture. Friends, family members, classmates, coworkers, mentors, and more can all help mold your mindset for the better — so long as they’re supportive. These aren’t the only outlets — as therapy and counseling can be a huge help in creating a more positive mindset.

If you’re considering therapy or counseling, we recommend checking out our Guide to Your First Therapy Appointment so that you know what to expect. Counselors and therapists are fantastic advocates for creating a more positive mindset — and will help with various coping strategies and actionable steps to work towards your goals. 

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Well, look at you — you’ve made it all the way through our 5 ways to develop a positive mindset that lasts. Now, we think it’s deserving of some positive self-talk, so give yourself a few cheers for taking the time to read through this article. 

A positive mindset isn’t something that sticks around forever, and it will obviously be tried and tested each and every day. The good news is that the more you practice the art of a positive outlook on life, the better prepared you’ll be for those low times. 

A Guide to Your First Therapy Appointment

Your first therapy or mental health counseling appointment can be intimidating. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious about attending your first session — don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s completely normal to feel uneasy about change, even if it’s for the better. 

If you’ve already scheduled your first session, congratulations, you’ve made it past one of the hardest steps. One of the most challenging parts about getting therapy or counseling help is choosing to start. So, give yourself a round of applause, a gold star, a pat on the back. Starting therapy is riddled with uncertainty — but it’s starting down the right path. 

If you’ve landed on this article, your appointment is probably coming up soon, and you’re unsure how to navigate the process. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide to help with your first therapy appointment so that you can go in with confidence. 

Ask Questions 

You’re probably going to have a lot of questions going into your first therapy appointment. Ask them! Therapists and counselors are there to help and will be happy to assist with any questions or concerns. Feel free to reach out even before your appointment. Doing so can better prepare you for what’s on the horizon while also easing some angst regarding your meetup. 

There’s no such thing as a bad question here. Here are some common questions we’ve had that have helped alleviate some stress prior to a first appointment. 

  1. What should I expect during the first session? 
  2. How long will the session be? 
  3. Will we jump right into why I’m getting therapy? 
  4. What’s your counseling style? 

These are just a few popular questions — but any questions will do. Whatever information you need to feel at ease with your first counseling or therapy session, feel free to reach out and ask before arriving. 

Think About Your Goals 

While you don’t need to come up with any comprehensive plan or checklist of tangible objectives, it’s good to think about what you want to achieve from your therapy or counseling session. It can be just a few words or actionable goals — whatever it is, take some time to reflect before heading to your first appointment to try and come up with at least somewhere to aim. 

Your therapist may use these goals to better understand if they’re the right fit for you — and make your first visit a meaningful one. 

Carve Out Some Time Before and After Your Session 

If your schedule permits, we’d recommend putting some buffer time both before and after your session. This time allows for some reflection and introspection. Your first appointment is going to fill you with some angst, uncertainty, and maybe even a little dread. Having some time before your appointment to breathe, stay hydrated, and jot down some things you’d like to discuss can help you prepare for the task ahead. 

Likewise, blocking out some time to reflect after your appointment is also beneficial. It’s a new experience, and you’re going to walk out with a lot on your mind. Instead of jumping straight from your first therapy or counseling appointment into a commitment, give yourself a little time to mull over what you learned during your appointment afterward. This cushion time also gives you a brief moment to deal with intense emotions that may be uncovered during your session. 

Set Realistic Expectations 

One of the best things you can do to prepare for your first therapy or counseling appointments is to set realistic expectations. Your first appointment isn’t typically going to take a deep dive into the complexities of your long term goals — and much of what you’ll do could be more clerical than therapeutic. Much of what you’ll do during your first appointment will be you and your therapist getting a feel for one another and making sure it’s a good fit. 

The first session is all about getting to know one another. Your therapist may have their own questions to ask — and will likely gather some information about you to ensure that the relationship can be productive. Likewise, you can also ask questions, and together you’ll be able to gauge how to approach your primary issues. 

Remember, Everything is Confidential 

Opening up about your life and obstacles is extremely personal, but it’s important to remember that everything you discuss is confidential. Not only do therapists have ethical guidelines to adhere to, but also strict federal privacy regulations that protect information about you without written permission. The one exception is that a therapist may contact the authorities is they have reason to believe you are planning to harm yourself or others. 

The Counselor is On Your Side 

Your therapist or counselor is on your team. They’re here to help advocate for your betterment and assist you with navigating challenges in your life. A therapist isn’t there to point out all of your shortcomings or highlight your flaws — instead, it’s quite the opposite. 

Remember that your therapist is on your side, and the more you begin to open up — the easier it will be. The initial fears and anxieties that accompany a first session fade quickly, and you’ll begin to look forward to these appointments as they are, well, therapeutic. 

What About Virtual Appointments? 

Many individuals have their first counseling session through telehealth services, but that doesn’t mean their fears, worries, or concerns are any less than an in-person meetup. Don’t worry; we’d recommend following the same formula we’ve gone over in this article for online counseling services.

  • Reach out to your appointed mental health professional with any questions 
  • Consider any goals you may have for your therapy
  • Block out some time for before and after your appointment
  • Set some realistic expectations 
  • Keep in mind what you discuss in your sessions is confidential
  • Your counselor is on your team 

You’ve Got This

Attending your first counseling or therapy session is a big step in the right direction. It’s a step into the unknown, so it will be a bit frightening. However, once you start, you’ll be glad you did. Remember, there’s never enough questions — so make sure you ask all that you want before your appointment to relieve any stress or uncertainty. Your therapy is all about you.