by Dr. Jennie Byrnie,

Unfortunately, there is still significant stigma attached with mental health, making it difficult for people to seek treatment. However, there are several reasons it is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

1) If you seek help for mental health problems like depression or anxiety when they are relatively mild, you may be able to avoid taking medications. Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” can be just as helpful as medication when symptoms are mild.

2) Waiting to seek treatment can hurt relationships – friends and family can be extremely helpful in the short-term for mild symptoms. However, over time these relationships can be strained if you are asking your friends and family to provide professional help. They are not trained to give you professional help and no matter how well-intentioned, they are not neutral.

3) Waiting to seek treatment can impair functioning at work. If you have symptoms like depression, anxiety, inattention you are typically underperforming at work.

4) It is difficult to access care. If you wait until you are at the breaking point and try to find a psychiatrist, you may have to wait a long time for an appointment*. If you are in crisis and have no-where to go you may end up in the emergency room.

5) You may remain ignorant of all your treatment options. While the internet is a great resource, meeting with a professional can clarify all the different treatment options that might be available to you.

If you or someone you care about has mental health symptoms but is not seeking treatment, please consider getting professional advice. Let them know that mental illness is similar to physical illness – there are many different treatment options and if they wait too long to get help they may get to a crisis point where their options are limited.

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