Greetings to my #WellnessWOWers and those who desire to live healthy, happy and harmonious in every area of their lives. It's Dr. Michelle here, your holistic physician who specializes in the release of stress simply and naturally, especially for burned out and busy professionals.
Today we recognize World Mental Health Day. The goal is to bring more awareness to mental health and destigmatize seeking help. This year focuses on young people in a changing world.
Adolescence and young adulthood are challenging times. The brain isn’t fully developed until age 25 and they are expected to “know” what they want to do with the rest of their lives and make decisions towards that goal. With the added pressure from school, family, peer pressure and for some, trauma, the weight can become too great to carry and they crash.
This World Mental Health day, I honor the memory of my brother Theodore Vernon Clay, II. He committed suicide when he was 21 years of age. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 children between the ages of 13 – 18 have or will have mental illness and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 24. There were signs that something was wrong, but at the time, we like many others were embarrassed and ashamed to seek professional help for him in the form of a therapist, professional counselor or psychologist. I often wonder if we had not stigmatized depression, anxiety etc. and sought the help he needed, if he would still be here today. The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years. That’s possibly 10 more birthdays, 10 more Christmases, 10 more or laughs.
Before my brother committed suicide, I had a bout with clinical depression when in medical school. I felt so low and lacked confidence in myself; I even contemplated suicide to end the emotional pain I felt. Then four years later, my brother actually did it. One of the lessons I learned from that life experience is, seek the help you need when you need it. You may not be clinically depressed, but environmental stressors and major changes in life can occur that make you feel like you have lost your direction and footing in life. Family and friends can be confidants and listening ears but may not have the expertise and/or skillset to illuminate the path that seems so dark to you at the time.
Since my first experience with a therapist in medical school, there have been two other times when life took a dramatic turn necessitating the need to talk through and process my feelings in a healthy and constructive way. Once I was speaking to a sister-friend and sharing with her that I got a new therapist I really liked that was helping me adapt to life changes and additional stress and crisis in my home. Her reply was, “You don’t need a therapist. We can talk it through sister to sister.” That very statement or similar is why World Mental Health Day is so important.
At some point in our lives, everyone will need a helping hand. A professional mental health provider is a necessary and star player on your self-care team to be your best self and live your best life.
For assistance in forming your self-care and stress FREELIFE team, schedule a complimentary strategy session with me. Schedule HERE
Until next time, be well!
Yours in Health and Harmony.
Dr. Michelle Clay is a speaker, two-time best-selling author & Holistic Physician specializing in the release and management of stress and its associated symptoms simply and naturally. Through her company FREELIFE7, Dr. Michelle enhances lives by harmonizing all dimensions of wellness through wellness coaching programs, workshops and speaking engagements to help stressed out and burned out high achievers, leaders and exhausted executives discover their sense of balance, calm, clarity and confidence to live a FREELIFE on purpose with passion. She is frequently called upon to give a refreshing holistic perspective on ways to release stress, recharge health and shift mindset for wellness success.