Is it Time to See a Counsellor? How to Realize It’s Time to Seek Professional Help, and Where to Find It.
Sometimes when we hear the word “counsellor,” it can be easy to fall into the misconception that counselling is a helpful resource designated only to those struggling with a mental health illness. While proper counselling is an excellent tool in coping with mental health struggles, that is not it’s only beneficiary use. Someone may want to seek counselling for a variety of different reasons, not all of which involve having a diagnosed mental illness. A sudden tragedy, feeling increasingly overwhelmed or stressed, or struggling to live a sustainable life are a few potential signs it may be time to consider counselling. Acknowledging the need to see a counsellor is an excellent first step in resolving whatever conflicts may be standing in your path, and achieving your desired goals.
When is it a good idea to consider counselling?
With today’s students facing incredible amounts of challenges (not to mention all the curve balls life throws your way), it’s easy to see why proper counselling can be so crucial. Whatever the struggle in your life may be, here are a few key signs it may be time to consider seeking professional guidance to help you through it.
- Your hardship is causing distress in your life
- You have faced a tragedy
- You feel lost, hopeless or stuck
- Nothing you seem to do appears to fix or help the situation
- You find yourself thinking/stressing about it constantly
- You feel completely overwhelmed
- Your daily life is affected
- You are feeling depressed or anxious
- It is hard to handle or cope with the situation
- Someone has mentioned their concerns about you
- You have concerns about your own well-being
- You are losing sleep
- Your work/academic performance is suffering
- One or more of your relationships is strained
Would seeing a counsellor actually be beneficial for me?
You wouldn’t continue playing soccer with a broken ankle, because you know you’d be doing much more harm than good if you did. Instead, you would go see a doctor and receive the right treatment you need in order to heal. The same should be true with your mental health. Let’s compare it the broken ankle scenario.
- Noticing the signs that something isn’t quite right would be the same as feeling/seeing that you have broken your ankle.
- Recognizing you can no longer put yourself through this turmoil could be viewed as removing yourself from the soccer game.
- Seeking proper treatment from a counsellor is just like going to the hospital to receive proper treatment for your injury.
While recognizing you have broken your ankle and removing yourself from the game are important first steps, you know those that alone will not heal your ankle. The same is true when it comes to your mental health. Noticing the signs and recognizing something must change are excellent first steps to overcoming your adversity, but they aren’t enough to get you completely back on track. Counsellors provide a safe, judgement free environment along with the support, professional guidance and life-long skill development designed specifically to help you conquer your challenges.
I think it’s time to see a counsellor, but I heard they can be expensive. Is this even an option for me?
Many post-secondary institutions in Canada offer counselling services to their students, free of charge. To find the counselling services offered by your institution, visit your institution’s official website under services, or visit your on-campus administration services for more information.