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Mental health and counseling services

two women talking in walkway

Do you need to ask for mental health and counseling help?

To many of you reading this post, let me apologize in advance for any discomfort it might bring you. But I felt obligated to write this. I am hoping that it will be encouraging to someone needing a sign to speak up. and ask for mental health and counseling help.

When a child I know received instruction from his art teacher to draw “home,” he drew houses set on fire and corpses of loved ones. That was not a scene from a horror movie that he watched the night before – merely his last memory of home before he and his siblings escaped the fate that many people could not escape.

This story is one of many I have heard of people, young or old, being held back by the past. They haven’t yet figured out a way to cast out the fears and live a new life in the US. It is not because they don’t want to let go the pain or fear, but because of not knowing how to let go or where to go to seek help.

If you want to protect your health, you must learn how to seek help. Mental health and counseling may be a foreign concept to you. For many cultures, seeking help in that field will automatically give you the label “crazy” or make you vulnerable, and thus many people suffer in silence. But guess what? You are not in your country anymore and you are free from most of those cultural perceptions.

“Seek for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong” – Les Brown

Here in the US, many people find it valuable to their well-being to talk to someone; someone who can give them professional advice on something they are struggling with resolving on their own.  Also in the United States, your medical information is protected by the law. Furthermore, the provider can’t share it with anyone without written consent from you. So, start with your family doctor.

Ask your doctor to help you find mental health and counseling help from someone who is culturally competent.

I know it is VERY hard as we often try to pretend that such experiences don’t exist and try move on in life. I know it might take you months, or even years to find the courage to talk about your past experiences, but that’s okay! Take your time, but don’t let the past control you and your life.

You had your reasons to live in survival mode prior to coming to the US, but it is not needed anymore. So, if you are still experiencing nightmares, please seek help. If you are still having aches, pains, and headaches without a known physical reason, please seek help. If you lost the desire to work or being active, please seek help. If you are repeatedly getting easily irritated, please seek help. If you lost control over your drinking habits, please seek help. If you are becoming physical toward your spouse and kids, please seek help.

It’s your health and your life. Now take the steps towards speaking up!

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.