The problem with preventative mental health


Sinead O’Connor has hit the nail on the head with the difficulties of preventative mental health care and that is the fact that no one really wants advice until it is too late.

Most of us know that the teen years are awkward and most people are busy trying to fit in. Many girls in the “real world” act like they see celebrities acting like and get angry when those of us who have already come out the other side offer well-meaning words of encouragement or caution. They view us as  judgmental or out of touch. 

One of the problems we therapists struggle with is that we are able to see the oncoming emotional or mental problems that these girls are headed for and we are standing in the middle of the road waving our arms at them and they are yelling at us to get out of the road. These girls only turn toward help once they are already hurting.

It is heartbreaking that some of the decisions that these young girls make can never be undone or taken back. Some emotional hurts will never go away. Some memories can never be erased. It is usually then that they turn to us for counseling, and don’t get me wrong, we are happy to help. We are just saddened that it takes years of struggling and pain before they are willing to seek us out.  




2 thoughts on “The problem with preventative mental health

  1. I know teenagers rebel. It’s their job. But how frustrating for a therapist — especially those who’ve been there themselves. I love: “waving our arms at them and they are yelling at us to get out of the road.” What a great image. It seems that the more out of control kids are, the more they insist on being in control. I know I got that way – and was self-destructive. Then my persistence of hope – so typical of young adulthood – made things even worse as I accepted ill treatment thinking things would change if only ,,, . I now hope young people seek help sooner than many of us did. We waited way too long. I’m glad you’re there to catch them when they fall.

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