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It is no secret that there is a lingering stigma around therapy and mental illness.

It is no secret that there is a lingering stigma around therapy and mental illness. This stigma often prevents people from receiving proper mental health treatment that they need. Like a physical injury, mental health needs to be tended to. If ignored, your mental health can gradually get worse. Unfortunately, a significant number of people suffer from mental illness and a large majority are untreated. 

According to High Focus Centers, “Around 10 million people suffer from a mental illness that severely interferes with major life activities. Sadly, more than half of these mental illnesses go untreated, leaving adults and children unnecessarily suffering from symptoms.”

Although it can be overwhelming and scary to ask for help, the benefits of therapy outweigh any fears related to it. During my senior year of high school, I decided to go to therapy after undergoing a traumatic event. Prior to this, I refused to go to therapy, because I thought it would make me appear “weak.” As corny as it sounds, I found the opposite to be true. Admitting you need help and seeking out that help is one of the bravest things you can do. In fact, I believe that everyone who has the opportunity to go to therapy should try it out. 

Therapy provides you with an outlet to discuss any problem you may be facing. No matter what you are going through, it is nice to have someone outside of your immediate family or friends to guide you through hardships, or even daily life. To me, therapy was a way for me to reflect on the events that were happening in my life. My therapist also helped me comprehend what I was feeling. It is incredibly reassuring to have someone validate your feelings and emotions. 

Therapy also changes your outlook on life. If you are stuck in a loop of negative thoughts, therapy can help. Known as cognitive restructuring, cognitive behavioral therapists are trained to reshape your negative thoughts into positive, healthy ones. I am a firm believer that a healthy mindset improves your overall quality of life. Instead of letting your emotions dictate your thoughts, cognitive restructuring forces you to question the accuracy of your negative thoughts. For example, if you think you are “unlovable,” begin to analyze your thoughts. What evidence do you have that you are unlovable? Is that true? Working with a therapist teaches you to develop healthier thought patterns. 

For those considering therapy, please do not be afraid to try it. Even if you are not compatible with your therapist or their methods, keep trying until you find something that works for you. Always remember that there is no shame in asking for help, because you deserve to receive the proper treatment you need.

Meghan is a freshman communications major at Temple University. She enjoys reading, traveling to new places, and eating mozzarella sticks.
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