Roseann Bennett, LFMT, Mental Health Awareness Week Spotlight

Licensed Therapist Roseann Bennett Offers Quicks Tips to Keeping Your Mental Health In-Check

Every day, headlines in news agencies highlight how much of an issue mental health remains in today’s world. Whether reporting the facts about school shootings, eating disorders, addiction, or depression, experts maintain mental health factors into all of those situations and others as well.

Businesses, in particular, are looking for solutions to help their employees get a handle on their mental health issues and avoid any negative spillover in the workplace. Creating a safe working environment for everyone should always be a top priority – and nurturing their employees’ mental health is a great start for creating that kind of environment.

With Mental Health Awareness Week from May 14thto 20thand Mental Health Awareness Month in May, therapist Roseann Bennett gives some tips people can use to stay on track with their well-being – both in and out of the workplace. Bennett is a licensed marriage and family therapist, who opened the Center for Assessment and Treatment in Hackettstown, N.J., in 2010 with her husband.


Center for Assessment and Treatment

Talk to Someone

One of the biggest things that can help someone with their mental health issues, whatever they are, is to talk to someone about the difficulties they’re facing, according to Bennett.

Whether it’s a family member, trusted friend, teacher, or a professional counselor, discussing a problem and having someone listen and give advice is one of the best methods for dealing with issues. Professionals, however, are the best equipped to help people with the challenges they face.

While in the past, some people who could have benefitted from talking with a professional counselor didn’t seek help because of the stigma that was attached to it, in recent years, that stigma has started to fade away, Bennett said. Now, the importance of mental health is often recognized, andsome insurance plans coversessions with a professional, whether it’s for addiction issues or marriage counseling. Businesses can assist their employees in guarding their mental health by seeking out insurance coverage that includes this kind of benefit.

Professional counselors aren’t always within everyone’s reach financially, however. But some, like Bennett, aresetting out to change that.

While she will help anyone who walks through the doors, Bennett makes it a high priority to help people who are marginalized and disenfranchised. These people are the ones who often struggle to find someone to talk with about their mental health issues.

Because reaching everyone who needs help is important to Bennett, she has never turned any client away, regardless of their financial situation.

“It was clear, having worked in the community for several years, that prompt outpatient mental health services that focused on helping low-income individuals were largely unavailable,” Bennett said.

She does her best to keep her overhead low, even bringing in furniture for her office from her own home when the center first opened, to ensure she can offer mental health services at a low rate.

Watch Out for Stress

Stress can be a killer. It can hurt your physical health, eventually causing high blood pressure and heart disease. It can make mental health issues such as depression or anxiety seem much worse.

Stress can come from many directions – it can be causedby money, relationships, jobs, and health. Recognizing the signs of stress can be crucial to finding ways to manage it. People need to be able to recognize stress as it happens before it reaches a critical mass and causes an outburst or an explosion. Some of the signs that a person is under stress arewhen their behavior begins to change, andthey have physical symptoms such as headaches and indigestion.

Managing stress is something mental health experts such as Bennett understand. She said she tries to carve out time for herself for relaxation, doing things like booking a massageto cut down on her stress levels. When she doesn’t make time to decompress, she said she can feel a difference in every aspect of her life.

Businesses can work to reduce the amount of stress their employees feel by making sure they are adequately staffed to create reasonable workloads. They can also provide information about support groups, therapists and other resources available to employees, offer breaks for employees to decompress throughout the day, schedule flexible lunch breaks, and practice open door policies between bosses and employees.Another great way to encourage better mental health at work is by fostering a team feeling amongst employees – encouraging bonding moments between employees can lessen the tensions and mental health stresses workers feel from awkward working relationships.

Think About the Good Moments of the Day

With mental health issues, it can be hard to focus on anything but the things that are troubling you. By making a conscious effort, however, to focus on any positives that have happened during the day, people can find the strength to make it through until their negative feelings pass.

The power of positive thinking is a real thing, and it’s something professionals like Bennett practice regularly. Bennett said she discusses the day’s highs and lows each night with her husband and her child. She said it’s too easy to focus on the negatives, but by looking back on your day, you can often find there were high points of your day after all.

Bosses can try this in the workplace by taking employees out to lunch at times, especially after a challenging project has been putto bed. A little discussion and acknowledgmentof appreciation for the hard work employees have put in can be a great stress buster. Or they can do this in-office by calling a meeting at the end of a difficult day.

Try to Let Go of What You Can’t Control

No one is truly in control of their lives – at least not every aspect of it. At any point, a situation can arise that can send people with mental health issues into a tailspin. The best way to deal with setbacks like that is to realize at all times that some things will be beyond your control, Bennett said.

Her favorite quote is one by Viktor Frankl that’s used on her website: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

That quote rings true for everyone, and Bennett said she sees people every daywho find themselves in awful situations they have no control over. According to Bennett, realizing that this will happen at some point can be freeing. Sometimes people aren’t to blame for the situations they find themselves in, and once they realize and accept this, they can work on finding a solution or moving on instead of blaming themselves.

Thisis true in the workplace as well – employees can’t control staffing dissues, busy seasons, or potential downsizing, but they can be kept in the loop by employers sothey aren’t blindsided by bad news. Open communication can make everyone feel better.

Follow Roseann Bennett on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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