(KCAU) – It’s pretty routine to go to the doctor at least once a year, even if it’s just for a wellness check. But many people have never visited with a counselor, therapist or other mental health professional.
“People have somewhat of an understanding, what is mental health, mental wellness and mental well-being,” Brenda Geisinger, the Chief Operating Officer at the Sioux City Boys and Girls Home said. “Now its getting people to take the next step in asking for that support and seeking out someone to talk to.”
While many people don’t think twice about scheduling a doctor’s appointment, many people often go through several mental barriers when thinking about scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional.
“Sometimes people question, am I crazy, or why would you think that, or I’m ok,” Geisinger said. “It’s very difficult to ask for help.”
But like physical ailments, healthcare professionals say there shouldn’t be any shame associated with treating or checking on your mental health.
“We have to get rid of this stigma so that people will come in and get the help,” Girls and Boys Home President & CEO Art Silva said.
People of all backgrounds and circumstances have experiences and emotions they may need help navigating.
“It might be work stress, you’re feeling out of control or overwhelmed, you’re not getting things done on time, you could be severely depressed, you may have recently experienced the loss of a loved one or pet, your child may be acting up and you may be just struggling with being a parent,” Geisinger said.
They are all issues mental healthcare providers can help with. But if you’ve never experienced any kind of counseling before, it can be hard to know where to start.
“When someone makes the first call, it’s not about judgment and you don’t have to go into great detail,” Geisinger said. “It might be, I just want to talk to someone and that’s as much as you need to say.”
The mental healthcare providers at the Boys and Girls Home said people don’t have to fear what will happen at their appointment.
“It’s just talking to someone, getting your point across, having someone listen to you and that’s what’s so important,” Silva said.
“I think there’s a lot of mystery of what happens behind the door and its really just talking,” Geisinger said. “There’s no mystery behind it, no magic, no one is going to tell you what to do and everything you sway will be accepted. It’s just being allowed to express yourself and express everything in your heart and in your head and finding a new way to cope.”
If you’ve never made a mental health appointment before, you may be wondering how to pay for it. If you have health insurance, most policies cover counseling sessions just like any other doctors visit. Medicaid is also an option to cover the cost. And if you don’t have access to Medicaid or insurance, a sliding fee scale option is available at Boys and Girls Home as a result of funding allocated by United Way of Siouxland.