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Finding the Right Mental Health Support for Your Needs

Finding the Right Mental Health Support for Your Needs

It's no secret that mental health is a big – and growing – concern. The percentage of people seeking mental health treatment has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, but it really took a big jump during 2020 and after – when the pandemic was impacting our lives in ways we never could have anticipated. In fact, in 2020 more than 20% of the U.S. adult population received treatment for stress, anxiety, depression and more, and that number has continued to increase. Women are even more likely to seek treatment, with 25% of them reporting visiting a therapist or taking medication in the past year.

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As a country we’ve evolved considerably when it comes to prioritizing mental and emotional health – and in fact removing the stigma that has far too long been associated with diagnosing and treating these disorders. But even as demand for mental health services has increased, it can be difficult to know what kind of help to seek, where to find a therapist that’s right for you, and what factors you should consider. Frankly, just knowing where to start can be daunting.

Fortunately, the Chinese Health Initiative at El Camino Health recognizes that emotional health is critical to overall health, and they have developed a program to aid in managing emotional well-being. While designed specifically for the Chinese Community, many of these tips and resources can be used by anyone ready to take control of their emotional health.

Understanding the Options

In general, there are two main types of treatment: talk therapy and medication. Depending on your diagnosis and the severity, both may be recommended. Medication (such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications) can only be prescribed by a physician. That's why talking to your primary care doctor is always a good place to start. They can help you determine if medication is necessary and refer you to specialists (such as a psychiatrist) if needed. They can also frequently recommend therapists or behavioral health specialists that can help you work through specific issues.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are an often-overlooked resource for those who are employed or have a spouse who’s employed. Most EAPs provide employees and their family members (including children up to age 26) with support for a range of behavioral and emotional issues, from stress and anxiety to relationship problems or substance abuse issues. Check with your employer to see if EAP benefits are included in your healthcare package.

Within the Chinese Community, it’s also important to find a provider who is culturally sensitive and understands the unique nuances that may impact emotional health, treatment, and recovery. And for those seeking a Chinese-speaking provider, the Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities can help. 

For a comprehensive list of professional resources that serve our community, click here.

Another option to consider is online therapy – a service that has flourished since the pandemic. With the number of companies now offering these services, finding a licensed mental health professional (including MSWs, psychologists, marriage counselors and more) is simple no matter where you live or what your schedule is like. It’s also possible to find a provider that understands your cultural concerns and speaks your preferred language. There are literally dozens of companies to choose from, so it’s important to do some research and read reviews before making a selection. Some take insurance and let you select your own therapist, while others have a pay-as-you-go model with limited provider options. While many sites promoting "top 10" recommendations may have a financial bias, this list may be a good place to start, and also offers some helpful tips to consider when making a choice.

Of course, even if you don’t feel like you need specialized treatment for your emotional and mental health, it's always important to prioritize self-care. In today's stressful word. Building resilience and surrounding yourself with positive support should be a part of healthy living. Check out some of the tips and resources CHI has compiled for fostering emotional self-care.

Finally, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and may harm yourself or others, seek immediate help. Call 911, or one of these resources that can provide assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC): 408-885-7855

    2221 Enborg Lane, San Jose CA 95128

    BHUC is a walk-in outpatient clinic for Santa Clara County residents who are experiencing behavioral health crisis and need help. You can visit this clinic for screening, assessment, crisis intervention, referral, and short-term treatment. They are open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and provide services to anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Translation services are available. Learn more.
  • Asian LifeNet Hotline: 877-990-8585
    
Offers support in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Fujianese.
  • National Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255) 
Offers support in 150+ languages.

 

This article appeared in the March 2024 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.