Suggestions for Seeking Professional Mental and Emotional Support

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Alexander Jendrusina, Ph.D., Counselor with the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office offers some signs for when to reach out for professional help.

As the year comes to an end, it can be a time of excitement, celebration, and connection with family and friends. Yet, this time of year can also invite heightened stress, anxiety, sadness, or feelings of being overwhelmed or isolated. If this sounds familiar to you, please know that you are not alone. 

As a staff or faculty member at the University of Michigan, you have access to mental health services at no charge to you. But how do you know if reaching out for professional mental health support could be helpful?

"There is never a wrong time or reason to ask for help,” says Alexander Jendrusina, Ph.D., a Counselor with the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office. “We all have peaks and valleys. If you're questioning whether speaking to a professional could be beneficial, or you're curious about the process, that alone is a reason to reach out."

Four Things To Consider

Thinking about your own mental health can feel challenging. Here are four questions that can help provide some direction. And your answers could suggest speaking with a professional is a good idea.

  • How are you feeling?
    Pay attention to your emotions. How would you describe them? For example, are you experiencing ongoing sadness or worry? Think about what is going on in your life. Have you recently suffered a loss or trauma? Are you concerned about a family member? Or perhaps you’re going through a life transition in your professional or personal life. If so, you might benefit from speaking with a professional. 

  • How often do you feel this way?
    Our emotions are ever changing and noticing their frequency is important. Take the example of feeling worried. While experiencing worry from time to time can be healthy, if you find yourself feeling worried every day, there are strategies that a professional counselor can offer that may help you feel better.

  • How strong is the feeling?
    Feelings vary in intensity. They can be mild to overwhelming. While it is normal to have ups and downs, if you find your emotions to be overwhelming, this is a sign that reaching out for help may be a good idea. Regardless no matter how strong the emotions are, if you’re concerned, a conversation with a counselor can be a good idea.

  • How are your feelings impacting your life?
    Pay attention to how your feelings impact you. If they are interfering with your life, that probably points to the idea of getting help. Try asking yourself something like, “Is this impacting my ability to work? To take care of myself or others?” You can also check if it’s interfering with other areas of your life like fulfilling personal responsibilities or causing conflict in relationships. Sometimes other people in our life might be the first to notice such changes in us. Other signs to pay attention to are changes in your body’s systems like your appetite, sleep, or concentration. Increases in substance use is another sign to monitor. 

For More Information

If you’d like to learn more about mental health services or are interested in support, counselors are available for no-charge, confidential services. If you work on an academic campus, contact the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO) at 734-936-8660 or [email protected]. If you work at Michigan Medicine, contact the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience (OCWR) at 734-763-5409 or [email protected].

Please note: This article does not review signs of mental health emergencies, such as concerns about harming yourself or others. Emergency resources include connecting with the 24/7 national crisis line at 988, going to the nearest emergency room, or calling 911.

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