This past weekend, I was having a conversation with a friend about mental health and taking it seriously. She made an incredible observation and said "we have doctors to take care of our bodies, we have trainers and gyms to take care of our bodies too, and we have dentists to take care of our teeth. But when it comes to mental health, we do not seek professional help for that. Why not? Therapists are an important part of the team." I was excited by the point she was making because I strongly believe in the power of teams. We have teams at work, at play, and we have all heard the quote "TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More." We achieve more when we all work together toward a common goal. In this case, the goal is your mental health and wellness.
You might be wondering "How do I create a mental health and wellness team?" More than likely, you already have some of the key players. The most important player on the team is you, of course. The next important part of your team is your mental health care provider. This person may be a therapist/counselor/life coach or a hybrid of all three. Next, if you see a psychiatrist, he or she is an integral part of your team, as this is person who is prescribing your mental health medication and needs to be in regular contact with your therapist and medical doctors. Any other doctors you may work with like a gynecologist, obstetrician, family doctor, and/or general practitioner can also be on your team. These doctors are important because sometimes physical illnesses or diseases have a strong tie to mental health challenges. Do you work with a personal trainer? He or she is an important part of your team as well. Again, because sometimes mental health challenges can show up in the physical body. Each of these people play an important role in your overall health and wellness and would be a natural fit on your mental health and wellness team.
Now that you have all the key team players identified, it is time to communicate with them the importance they each play on your mental health and wellness team. I suggest starting this conversation with your therapist. Usually, your therapist will want you to sign documentation that gives them consent to speak with your other health care professionals about you and your mental health. Your psychiatrist and other doctors may want you to sign this type of document as well. Open communication between everyone on the team is extremely important. The next thing to do would be to communicate with the rest of your team players about your team and what roles each of them play. You can either do this yourself, or you can have your therapist reach out to each of them. It is important that all players are on the same page. A way to ensure that, is to communicate your mental health and wellness goals with each of your team members and to create a plan with them. You can also schedule regular team meetings where each member of the team expresses information about you, how you are showing up with each of them, and what other support or resources you may need.
Love, Peace, Light,