Being Open About Mental Health
- Tennis star Naomi Osaka, 25, made headlines last year after choosing not to participate in press conferences while on a 2021 tour.
- The Japanese professional tennis player is now opening up about her mental health break and discussing the shame she felt during the tour last year.
- Mental health issues are important to address and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are in need of a break or seeking help.
- SurvivorNet has consulted top mental health professionals to offer important resources for those who may be struggling and seeking treatment or solutions.
We at SurvivorNet know and value taking care of mental health just as much as any other healthcare. We have many resources from experts in the field to help you along your mental health journey and want to stress that there is no reason to ever feel shame.Read More
“I think for me, I’ve just always been taught to kind of like stick it out or work through it, and I think that’s a very valuable lesson because it has gotten me through a lot of things in life,” Osaka said during a recent appearance on “The Late Show.”
“But there was just a point where I thought to myself like ‘why?’ … you know. And not in a negative way, but if I am feeling this way, why would I keep pushing through it, when I can confront it and fix it and then continue on my journey?” she continued.
Finding the Right Option for Mental Health Needs
Whether it is a loss of a loved one, or a change in life brought on by a cancer diagnosis, “grief comes in waves,” says Dr. Scott Irwin, a psychiatrist and Director of Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“They’re grieving the change in their life, the future they had imagined is now different,” he told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. Some days can be tougher than others, but Dr. Irwin says talk therapy can be really helpful — so it’s important to reach out to your doctor, to a therapist, or to support groups in your community if you are struggling.
Treatment options for people struggling with mental health really run the gamut. While some people may benefit from seeking the help of a psychologist and getting on medication, others see great improvement by simply implementing some lifestyle changes, such as prioritizing exercise and cutting back on alcohol.
Those struggling should know that they are not alone — about one in five American adults has experienced some sort of mental health issue, according to mentalhealth.gov. However, what worked to help someone else cope may not necessarily help you — as treatment must be individualized.
To maintain a positive mindset and address mental health struggles you may be having, treatment may include:
- Seeking professional help from a psychiatrist or therapist
- Learning healthy coping skills
- Medication such as antidepressants
- Adding more physical activity to your routine
- Adjusting your sleep schedule
- Connecting with others via support groups
- Mindfulness and meditation
No Reason to Feel Shame
Osaka’s experience will hopefully help people realize there is no reason to be embarrassed about seeking out mental health tools.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it is important to realize you are not alone. The CDC reports that more than 20% of American adults said they sought out mental health treatment over the past year, according to a 2020 survey. Among those people, 16.5% said they had taken some sort of medication for their mental health and 10.1% said they had received counseling or therapy.
The term mental health refers to both our emotional and psychological well-being. Our mental health can affect how we think, feel, and behave. There are also certain triggers — as stress, traumatic events, or a change in your physical health can all affect mental health.
It’s really important to keep tabs on your mental health and, if necessary, seek treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional therapy because while it may be really helpful (even life-changing) for some, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychologist, told SurvivorNet it’s important to be “realistically optimistic” when learning to cope with mental health struggles.
Problems with mood and overall mental well-being can be attributed to several factors. For some people it’s genetic, while others may be experiencing a response to some sort of stressor or past trauma.
“I think flexibility is really a core of how to manage it,” Dr. Boardman. “Are your coping strategies that you’re using now, are they helpful in the way that they were in the past?”