Mental Health Matters: Q&A with a Mental Health Professional

Posted by Ly Tran, Licensed Counselor at Lifeologie, on May 18, 2021

Mental Health Matters: Q&A with a Mental Health Professional

The month of May is recognized in the U.S. as Mental Health Awareness Month. This designation, which first began in 1949, is part of a national movement to normalize discussions about mental health and to spotlight resources and tools available for mental wellness.

The pandemic has caused many of us to be more aware that mental health matters. Increasingly, people are willing talk openly about mental health and wellness issues. Below, Ly Tran, Pastor of Counseling at Chase Oaks Church and founder of the Watershed Initiative, answers some common questions about steps we can take to prioritize and care for our mental health and well-being.

Q: Why is mental health awareness important at this stage in the pandemic?

A: It’s been well over a year into the pandemic and it’s natural for each and every one of us to be feeling the mental, emotional, and relational strain that comes with it. At the same time, as things begin to open back up, it’s easy to think things will just get back to usual and to overlook the impact that such a year has had on our mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Month helps to draw our attention to how normal and necessary it is to take care of our mental health. That’s even more true now, after a year like the one we’ve had since March 2020. So in a sense, all of us gets a “hall pass.” We all probably need to prioritize some extra mental health care right now.

Q: When should a person see a trained mental health professional?

A: In my experience, most people think therapy is just venting about your issues to someone, and that’s it. If that were the case, then a good friend who is willing to listen would be sufficient.

I think it’s better to think of a trained therapist as someone who can help us work through our issues in a more focused, targeted way—accomplishing the same growth in just a fraction of the time it would take if we approached the issues more organically.

If we are feeling like we’re stuck, going in circles, or our emotional reactions under stress seem disproportionate what a situation calls for, then it’s definitely a good time to see a mental health professional.
Q: What can a parent or caregiver do to support mental health in kids and teens?

A: Watch and listen. Kids and teens process stress differently from adults. Their brains aren’t fully developed so we can’t expect them to react to stress and pain the way an adult does.

In other words, they’re usually not able to articulate their thoughts and feelings as well as an adult, and that’s normal. What probably isn’t normal (or rather “healthy” because it actually seems “normal” now) is the additional strain kids and teens are experiencing because of the pandemic and all that goes with it.

So we need to observe the kids and teens in our lives to see if their levels of anger, frustration, anxiety, and withdrawal are higher than what’s typical for them. I know it’s hard to tell the difference (what teen isn’t moody or withdrawn?) but those who know them best will have the clearest sense for what’s within their range of normal.

If they are willing to open up and engage with us, we should listen first before trying to fix or correct. Even if what they’re thinking and feeling sounds wrong, we need to simply listen and ask questions. One of the best gifts we can give someone (regardless of age) is our interest and understanding. Perhaps nothing changes in their situation, but if people feel pursued and understood, that may be all they need.

And of course, when in doubt, see if your kid or teen is willing to speak to a therapist that can help them pinpoint and express their thoughts and emotions better.

Q: How would you respond to the following? “I can’t address mental health with a professional because it’s too expensive/it takes too much time/I don’t know who to see/I’d rather just talk with a friend.”

A: I think having friends to talk with is vital and necessary. But it’s different talking to a therapist who can help cut to the heart of the matter much more quickly and help move us to a better place. For other hesitations like “it’s too expensive,” “it will take too much time,” or “I don’t know who to see,” I think we have solutions for all of those today:

  • We have therapists that will do virtual online therapy to make it incredibly convenient for those with busy schedules.
  • We have therapists that will see people for as little as $30 a session.
  • And we have therapists that are trusted and recommended by the leaders and pastors of our church.

The entire process of getting counseling through Chase Oaks is incredibly easy and accessible for anyone. We’ve made it very doable for anyone to get mental health care. It just comes down to if—or when—you‘re ready to take that first step to ask for help.

For more information and resources, visit our Care page, here.

Share This:

Recent Stories

Swipe to Discover more

3 Ways To Keep Learning About Black History

Feb 25, 2024

Black History Month celebrates the heritage and achievements of black Americans, past and present. But why and how can we keep learning, once February is over?

Remembering the Dream: Honoring MLK, Jr.

Feb 23, 2024

Several Chase Oakers share their reflections on the impact and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Five Things You Can Do For Lent This Year

Feb 11, 2024

What's the history of Lent? How is it observed? It's not just a way to pass time before Easter. It's a great opportunity to take some steps toward personal transformation.

Creative Ways that Everyone Can Celebrate Love

Feb 09, 2024

Valentine’s Day: love it, hate it, skip it? Whatever your view, love is for everyone at any age or life stage. We’ve got some fresh ideas for how everyone can celebrate love this week and beyond.

Where To Celebrate Lunar New Year 2024 in DFW

Feb 05, 2024

Happy Lunar New Year 2024! We've listed just a few of the many places you can celebrate the Year of the Dragon in DFW.

Four Reasons Why We Should Celebrate Black History Month

Jan 30, 2024

Black History Month is a celebration of the lives and achievements of African Americans who have made a difference in our world.

The Local Good Pantry: Nourishing Communities, Creating Hope

Jan 26, 2024

The newly opened Local Good Pantry offers hope to the surrounding community by addressing hunger and food insecurity with dignity.

12 Bible Verses for When You're Feeling Anxious

Jan 21, 2024

Feeling anxious? You're not alone. Be encouraged by these 12 Bible verses and the reassuring perspective they provide.

Finding Freedom and Forgiveness After Abuse: Rowena's Story (Part 2)

Jan 11, 2024

In confronting the cycle of abuse in her life, one woman found hope, healing, and something else: the freeing power of forgiveness.

Finding Freedom and Forgiveness After Abuse: Rowena's Story (Part 1)

Jan 10, 2024

Seeking to end years of domestic abuse, one woman found healing from an unexpected source.