Mental Health Awareness Week: 6 Reasons to Get Your Butt to the Therapist

It's Mental Health Awareness Week and in honor of this occasion we're here to encourage you to GO TO A THERAPIST ALREADY. Like health insurance, an updated resume and a reliable source of orgasms, it's something every young woman should have on hand in case of emergencies. Think of it as dental floss for your psyche, pinpointing and shaking loose all the residual gunk and helping to render your mental space clean and cavity-free. Here are six reasons you should get thee to ZocDoc and make an appointment.

1. Going to therapy doesn't mean you're nuts.

"Going to therapy doesn't mean you're weak or crazy or don't know how to take care of yourself. It just means you're having a hard time right now. And much of the therapy offered these days is designed to help people work through their problems in a fairly short amount of time," Jennifer Yashari, MD, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at UCLA told Ladies Home Journal. "There are lots of women who could benefit from seeing a therapist but don't ever do it." Men, too.

If you feel like you're dealing with the onset of serious mental illness, it's obviously wise to explore therapy. But if you're feeling moody or confused or in a funk or not like yourself, that's worth a therapy session too.

2. Everyone is doing it!

In major cities at least. In 2011, there were 4,478 licensed psychologists practicing in NYC, or one for every 1,868 people. Los Angeles has one for every 2,380 people. According to HMO stats, Manhattan may have the highest concentration of psychotherapy referrals in the country.

Anecdotally, I lived with 11 women in college and I believe that only one of them has not, at one point or another, seen a therapist. My coworkers, bosses, boyfriends and family members have all benefited from psychotherapy and, at least among the segment of society that I occupy, use of psychotherapy is simply too ubiquitous to feel embarrassed about. Sometimes we all need a little help.

3. Your friends aren't your therapists.

Maybe they're sick of hearing you talk about your toxic relationship with your mother and your disappointment in your career and your irresistible ex-boyfriend. Or maybe they just give really bad advice and you could stand to speak to someone who does this professionally. But, do keep in mind that the relationship between you and your therapist is, at its core, an exchange of goods and services. Cause one day she might, just to pull an example out of thin air, charge you a no-show fee when you have to go to an unexpected funeral and that might sting a little and maybe you'll get over it but maybe you'll need the help of another therapist to do so. Sorry, where was I?

4. It feels good.

You know how you kinda dread going to the gym and while you're there it's really hard but afterwards you feel like a million bucks? Therapy can do that for your brain. The same way you leave those extra calories at the gym, you can leave that extra mental weight behind at the head doctor. It can be healthy and cathartic and mentally refreshing. And, though psychotherapy that is sought as part of a treatment program for serious mental illness may not yield such immediate satisfaction, there is comfort in the fact that you are taking steps toward your own recovery. You're doing something healthy for yourself.

5. Your health insurance might pay for it.

Mental health coverage may vary significantly from insurer to insurer, therapist to therapist and diagnosis to diagnosis. But, The Washington Post says that all insurance under Obamacare has to cover a predetermined set of health benefits, one of which is mental health services. Not only may this provide financial relief for people that use these services, it will destigmatize mental health services by lumping them in with other required health benefits like emergency services, hospitalization, preventative care and chronic disease management.

6. It's good for you in all sorts of ways.

It's proven that therapy effectively decreases patients' depression and anxiety. The American Psychological Association states that "There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of therapy are far better off than untreated individuals with emotional difficulties." What may surprise you is that therapy can improve a patient's overall health status, both mental and physical. In addition to easing anxiety and depression, psychotherapy also decreases related symptoms like pain, fatigue and nausea, according to the American Psychological Association. It's also been found to increase survival time for cancer and heart surgery patients. New slogan: Go to Therapy and Live Forever!

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