I am a counseling psychologist.  I  think that many families have  been touched by mental illness, or if we need to break it down, to make it more palatable, the need of therapeutic intervention, or psychiatric intervention.  Many families that I have dealt with over the years come into my office for various things.  Sometimes it is about grief, depression, marital dis- satisfaction, job change, and any problem you can think of. Everyone, needs to be diagnosed by the DSM Book, for insurance to pay.


In our society today, we have nowhere for the seriously mental ill patients to go. When Ronald Reagan became President of the United States, In California, a major mental health institution was closed.  Thus,   What has happened to these people, who were institutionalized to live in a safe place for treatment?  As a result many people are in jails, which is not the place for the mentally ill, or they are on the streets. It is my opinion and many in my profession that the jails who house mentally ill, are a huge business in the United States.  Treatment is poor, and they are jusst being warehoused.

Our society has a stigma against the mentally ill.  What is the difference between mentally ill, and someone who is hurting, depressed, or has something in the DSM manual that needs therapeutic help to cope?  There should be no shame to get the help that is needed for someone who is depressed, or having trouble coping.

As Merck Manual States that nearly 50% of adults experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.  More than half of these experience moderate to severe symptoms.  The statistics are staggering. There have been great advances in the treatment.  People in families are often viewed as lazy or irresponsible.  Mental Illness, is currently thought of as a very complex interaction of hereditary and environmental factors.  Statistics say that 4 of the l0 leading causes of disability among people ranging from 5 and older are mental health disorders.  DEPRESSION, is the leading causes of illnesses that cause disability


Society is cruel in general, as some people who do get the therapeutic help, feel embarrassed to let anyone know.  There unfortunately is still a stigma.  Mental illness is not clearly differentiated from normal behavior.  For instance in grief therapy, what is normal bereavement, with  those who have had significant loss of a child, spouse, vs. Depression or anxiety disorder. Sometimes, people need help with a disease that is a life long event.    There is a fine line between mental illness and mental health, which are also on a continuum.

Regarding Grief, which can be diagnosed as:  Complicated grief, or pre-grief, knowing that a loved one is dying, or any kind of grief of a loved one or even a pet, or friend, needs to be seriously examined for treatment.  Talk therapy is very helpful, along with grief groups to discuss with others in the same situation.

psychologists and therapists have to delve into how long symptoms last, how much the person is not like themselves, and how severe the loss of a loved one and their symptoms affect their lives.  (e.g.Molly and Monet), (which goes into the loss of a loved one as seen through the eyes of two dogs,  and is written allegorically, and is a true story.) professionals need to distinguish between what is in the normalcy of treating an individual for their circumstances of loss, which can become chronic vs. on going symptoms.  Grief for instance is not something easily forgotten.  It is very important for a grief stricken individual to be supported mentally for the many issues that professionals know that a  person is going to go through. There are many different types of grief, where a loved one knows that a person is seriously ill, and has a terminal illness.  Many individuals get help knowing that this is going to transpire.

In some cases, there is loss, complicated by PTSD.  This is more difficult to treat. Our Military coming home from battle, as well as individuals who have seen and experienced terrible trauma sometimes have PTSD, better known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.


Bottom line, as a psychologist who treats a wide variety of issues, marital, stress related, anxiety, depression from the above, or have diagnosis of Autism, have something in common.  Many individuals feel embarrassed that they need or have sought help for their problems.  Many of my patients, see some of their diagnosis, as something that needs to be kept secret.  Our society, still is sometimes unaccepting of people needing therapy or a psychologists help, even if it is for loss, anxiety, coping, divorce, a life change, or marital issues.  I find some people still feel this is a stigma.  It is changing, but it will take a long time for society to accept that people sometimes really want help to change what went on in their original family system, handle a divorce or separation, or just someone to talk with, to make life decisions, or sexual dysfunction.  I am very careful to label individuals.  Sometimes, it is what it is, people need someone to validate their decisions in certain times in life.  I personally deal with specific types of therapy.  If I find that a case is not in my genre then I refer them out, maybe to early childhood development, a psychiatrist for medication, or certain personality disorders.

What is important from the above is that there is no shame in getting treatment or help from a professional if you are hurting, sad or depressed, or making a life change, or have marital discord, or something else.  It helps.  But again, a psychologist, and therapist, needs to differentiate who is mentally ill, that has presented to you.  And if you do find such, and in your opinion they need medical help, then a duality of therapy, and medication are an answer.  Most psychiatrists,  give a diagnosis, and give the patient medication, but are getting further away from therapy and just listening, and finding solutions.

Psychologist and marriage and family therapists, are abundant in our society.  If these professionals feel that you need medication along with the individual, then they will discuss with the patient, and refer them to someone who will do the medication, and the psychologist or therapist will do the therapy.  Not too many psychiatrists actually do therapy, but will listen to symptoms, and then if necessary medicate.  Insurance usually works that way.  DI