Counseling is step one in mental health illnesses by: Maya Douglas
The National Alliance of Mental Illness and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
are calling all advocates of mental health, mental healthcare professionals, attempt
survivors, loved ones of suicide victims, all members of any other communities to rally
together to promote mental health, remove the stigma from mental illness, and
ultimately prevent suicide especially during September, which is the National Suicide
Mental health illness is something that affects more people than most can imagine.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the tenth leading
cause for death in the United States is suicide. About 44,769 Americans die from
suicide every year. The AFSP also states that for every suicide, 25 others make an
One of the most common methods of treating a mental illness is psychotherapy, more
commonly referred to as counseling – but how effective can counseling really be if
suicide rates remain at an alarmingly high rate? Some say talking about an issue does
not help, change or resolve it, and I absolutely agree. Simply talking about something as
difficult as mental health does not help to completely resolve any problem, but it does
allow the healing process to begin.
Jazmin Barnes, junior, said, “The counseling service I received (on campus) is great.
So is my counselor. I would say the effectiveness depends on the person and who’s
counseling them, but for me it was effective. I felt like (my counselor) understood where
I was coming from, and it was a judgement-free zone. She made me view myself from a
Unfortunately, not everyone is successful in finding his or her ideal counselor his or
her first time going to counseling. Some may have to go through a long list of
counselors before they find the right one, or it may take a number of sessions together
to build a rapport with a counselor. Every person and situation are different, and
counseling is not one-size- fits-all. The process can be laboring on anyone who is
already going through mental strain, but it is important to be open and consistent in
one’s efforts to see a real change.
That being said, counseling, will not instantly solve anyone’s problems, but it will open
the opportunity to express oneself and gain the tools needed to deal with the current
issues at hand and face future problems head-on. Often times, it is going to take more
than one session to acquire a personalized set of problem-solving skills. Also, gaining
those skills does not mean that a person is always going to be able to handle every
issue they acquire on their own. There are skilled mental health professionals that go to
counseling! A lot of the times people deal with things alone and don’t know where to
turn or how to even begin to deal with what they are going through. Even if they just go
to one session, they can at least have a starting point and some sense of direction as
they take steps in dealing with their issues. Sometimes counseling alone may not
resolve a person’s issue. That does not mean it is ineffective. It just means there is
additional work to be done. Counseling is effective when everyone involved goes into it
with a positive attitude about the outcome. Talking is the first step to healing!