TULSA, Okla. — October is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for mental illness, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
The agency also reports most Oklahomans don’t receive the care they need to fully recover.
One thing that can hold some back from seeking help is the stigma some associate with mental illness.
Amy turner is a licensed professional counselor. She started Mindset Behavioral Health. It is a confidential counseling service offering in-person and online sessions with licensed therapists.
In this story sponsored by Mindset Behavioral Health, she told 2 Cares for the Community, “I think that whenever you don’t understand what somebody is going through, it’s really easy to be judgmental about it, so there is a lot of stigmas.”
Turner has seen first-hand the skepticism some have for mental health services and those who seek it.
“I even noticed like with my close friends, a lot of them don’t believe in mental health care.” She said, “I would like for people to know that it’s okay to reach out for mental health help.”
Megan is married and a working mom with two young children.
She said, “it’s not a deep, dark secret. I went and saw a therapist.”
Leslie works from home and cares for her family.
Both women regularly see a therapist and are aware of the stigma some associate with mental health issues, or seeking therapy.
“It’s viewed as a weakness.” Leslie said, “and if you seek out, you know, help, you’re viewed as you know, you’re not normal or something’s wrong with you.”
“I’m not a broken person.” Instead, Megan said she seeks therapy because, “I need some tools to help me not be so stressed out, or so anxious, or depressed.”
Tools like breathing exercises she learned in therapy.
“Being able to take calming breaths and how that, you know my therapist explained, physiologically how that affects your body and your nervous system,” she said, “so when I’m in the middle of something, anxious, you know, something that is causing me anxiety, I can do the breathwork the way that she taught me how to do it, and it physiologically calms me, calms …….