With Leah Payne, LPE-I, LPC
I’d like to start off this post by sharing a little about myself. I work as a mental health counselor and I know that it is a lot to ask sometimes expecting people to walk into my office and share all their inner workings.
I’ve been in this for nearly a decade. I spent about 5 years within the local public school system, so I’ve spent lots of time talking through teenage drama, listening to angry kids, and guiding teens through anxiety or identity issues.
I have a passion for listening to and guiding young people in the journeys and struggles as they discover, define, and decide who they are in this big, beautiful world.
However, I’m also a mom to two kids, so I understand both sides of the coin a bit. I get what parents go through in walking that walk with their children and understand that sometimes you make good decisions for young people who don’t understand or appreciate yet all that you do for them. I think most parents will agree, but my kids are like oxygen, they keep me going on the worst of days and when nothing else seems to.
All that being said, I feel that mental health and wellness continues to be stigmatized to an extent and often goes over looked. To me, mental health and emotional well-being are just as important to a being a whole person as physical health. If you are depressed, anxious, fearful of someone in your life, or denying your own basic needs, it’s hard to give yourself fully in relationships with others, get up to go to work, or get up in the morning ready to go about your day. An article I read this morning mentioned anxiety, which often coexists with depression and plays a part in many suicide efforts, as the number 1 mental disorder in the U.S. It also mentioned that between 1999 to 2016, suicide rates have escalated 30% across over half of the U.S.
Today, I’d like to end with just one tip. I think the most important practice for being mentally and emotionally sound IS to talk to someone. That someone does not necessarily need to be a counselor. Maybe your person is your spouse, your best friend, a co-worker, or your pew buddy. Find your person and start talking, even if it’s just to say, “I’m having a bad day, would you like to get a cup of coffee?”.
If you feel like you need someone to talk to, I’d love to listen.