Taking the First Step

20210919 First Step 2

There’s a lot of talk these days about advocating for your own mental health. The very nature of that suggestion can sound ludicrous to someone who is suffering and searching for inner strength. If you have found the motivation and energy to speak up and pursue help, isn’t that a sign that you aren’t doing too bad? Not really. It is, however, life-changing when you take steps to find the treatment you need. 

Reaching out to someone for support is a critical first step – and it is advocating for yourself. It’s the act of finding someone to help you follow through when you can’t find the motivation to search for appropriate treatment. It’s too much pressure to put on yourself, alone.

Don’t Second Guess Your Instincts

It can be scary to admit when we don’t feel stable. There are so many fears that accompany that reality, including what friends and family think if you seek treatment and if your job will be secure. You are not alone if you’re asking those questions. However, your mental health cannot be safely placed on hold.  Unresolved and untreated illnesses don’t stand still while you prioritize other things.

During every stage of life, most people make the mistake of measuring their self-worth on how other people view them. We’re a county built on keeping up with the Joneses – and hiding what could be perceived as blemishes on our image. We benchmark our value on how we perceive others view us. It’s not healthy. Breaking that pattern takes a very intentional effort to let go of those destructive beliefs and re-train our brains to be open and honest about our mental health. It is estimated that over 19 million people a year experience a depressive episode. Bottom line: you are not alone.

Where to Turn for Help

Mental health needs can take on many forms. Sometimes, we don’t see a change in ourselves but someone else may take notice and voice a concern. Depending on the quality of that relationship, you might feel judged rather than cared for. Regardless of when, where and why or from whom the message is delivered, your mental health matters. Even if the message comes from someone with less than a compassionate approach, it’s wise to consider the input and take the next step.

As you navigate the options for treatment, it’s vital to get a professional assessment. A trained mental health professional can help you determine the most appropriate treatment setting and options to meet your needs. There is no wrong first step, it’s whatever or whoever gets you to the assessment.  

That can be you picking up the phone. It can be a friend or family member that helps to steer you to care. It can be a community resource like a crisis center or advocacy group. It can be clergy. It can be a healthcare provider. Advocating for yourself by voicing your needs to someone – anyone – improves your chances of getting well.  

When our physical health needs immediate attention, we go to an urgent care clinic or an emergency department. When our mental health needs attention, it can’t wait. One of the ways we describe Willow Creek is it’s a mental health emergency room. We’re open 24/7 to meet the critical needs of the community and offer free in-person assessments.

What you can Expect

Once you arrive at Willow Creek, you’ll be evaluated to examine your symptoms and determine the right course of treatment. That might include being admitted for an inpatient stay, being enrolled into an outpatient day-treatment program to see a psychiatrist and attend group therapy, or being directed to another service in the community.

The first step is free. We understand it requires courage – and you will be treated with dignity, compassion and appreciation for taking it. Our team is available 24/7. Connect with us by calling 920-328-1220 or toll free at (844) 308-5050.