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Together For Mental Health

Local Counseling Professionals Provide Trauma Recovery And Emotional Wellness

For years, the discussion of mental health has been taboo. People have suffered in silence, worrying about keeping up appearances, or being judged by those around them. With a growing number of Americans experiencing mental health issues, many are working to make mental health a mainstream topic. 

“COVID-19 really highlighted mental health struggles people have on a day-to-day basis,” says Dr. Lucy Underwood, owner and licensed professional counselor at Underwood Counseling & Consultation, PLLC. “We, as a society, had been swinging far in one direction with the onset of the pandemic, and suddenly there is a big swing to the other side. People don't cope well with imposed change.”

Mental health struggles are common, according to industry statistics. They can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or background. Statistics from show that in 2020, one in five American adults experienced a mental health issue, and one in six people who are less than 18 years of age experienced a major depressive episode.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24. It accounted for the loss of more than 45,979 American lives in 2020, nearly double the number of lives lost to homicide.

In the United States, since the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread lockdown, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people struggling with substance abuse, depression, anxiety and other mental conditions. Psychologists remind that humans are built to connect with people, not to be isolated.

Today’s society has a major impact on the emergence of mental health issues. Social media and the digital world contribute to inadequacies about life or physical appearance, cyberbullying, fear of missing out (FOMO), isolation and self-absorption. Job stresses and changes in employment can prompt anxiety and depression. Life transitions, performance pressures, chronic health conditions or health diagnoses all can lead to some sort of trauma.

“Trauma is any event that has a lasting negative impact on someone. These events can be anything from moving to losing a loved one to relationship issues," says Dr. Underwood.

Mental health is an incredibly important part of overall health care. Just as people need to take care of their physical bodies, everyone's mental state needs care, as well. This can be achieved in many ways, such as talking to a counselor, reading books to support oneself, taking a walk, going on a vacation, meeting up with friends, or just saying no to extra activities or requests. 

"Self-care is giving yourself the gift of empowerment," says Dr. Underwood. "For most, we've been taking care of our mental health for years, we just didn't realize it."

For those struggling, there are several things that can help mental health. Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Mental health is a team effort and having a personal community is important. Reach out and be heard. Call and talk to a therapist. Sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger than to someone known. Remember, change will take time; it doesn't happen overnight.

Taking care of one another is often needed. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need. If a change in thinking, feelings or behavior is observed, reach out with care and assistance. Work together to secure the services that can help.

As the work to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues is underway, Dr. Underwood says there are three key facts that are important to remember when it comes to mental health.

  • Mental health is health care.
  • Mental health is approachable.
  • Healing can happen.


Editor's Note:  If you, or someone you know, is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources.

"Self-care is giving yourself the gift of empowerment. For most, we've been taking care of our mental health for years, we just didn't realize it."

  • Dr. Lucy Underwood