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Mental Health Professional: Counselling A Start To Feel Better Action Plan

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By: Spokesman Newsroom 

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 27th October 2022)- President of the St. Kitts Mental Health Association (SKMHA), Counsellor Zahra Jacobs says counselling can be a start for an actionable plan towards feeling better. 

Speaking on Freedom FM’s ‘Youth Beat’ programme aired on Wednesday 26th October 2022, she made the disclosure. 

“So, the same way if…your pressure is up, you go to the doctor and look for some pointers, counselling can be a good way for you to start an actionable plan towards starting to feel better; help you think about things a bit differently so you can feel better,” she explained. 

Commenting on the significance of mental health awareness by the association, she stated: “We just want to bring light to the very fact that most of us feel a little out of balance sometimes and that balance could be anything right? If you’re stressing about money, all of a sudden, your mood isn’t quite right If you’re struggling with your faith, all of a sudden, your mood isn’t quite right; you can’t make sense of things. If you’re having conflicts with family, friends, romantic relationships, that throws us off too. We could be having a career issue, a job…for young people, school might be the challenge-your homework, the SBAs, all of that throws us off balance.”  

He continued: “I say sometimes when people are thrown off balance, they’re thrown off balance, they tip all the way and fall down, and that’s when we say, they [are] crazy or they need to go up the psychiatric ward  but some of us are maybe not far off from that balance either, and we need a little help getting back up right. So, the same way if…your pressure is up, you go to the doctor and look for some pointers, counselling can be a good way for you to start an actionable plan towards starting to feel better; help you think about things a bit differently so you can feel better.” 

The mental health professional expressed that healthy boundaries are important: “Healthy boundaries are important. No one is a super hero; you cannot be everywhere or do everything for everyone. So, before you say you are to help a bunch of people, make sure that you in your corner is fairly stable. Then listen to people…Engage people, listen to what’s going on  and a lot of time we just want to talk to people to tell them how to feel, how they should be dealing with  it…you might not agree with everything they say but just be present, ask questions, find out what’s going on.” 

She added: “The other thing you want to do is see if you can link them to some sort of support. It might be professional or it might just be helping their family figure out a way to support them a bit more. So, you might be saying, go up to the hospital, seek psychological services, go to the national counselling centre; whatever it is but remember your limitations in things. One of the things that I always tell people is whatever people tell you is only part of the story so try not to carry the burden for then because you might not know everything that  is going on and all the factors so listen, don’t talk, and try to link them to some services but that first thing is healthy boundaries because women especially have a tendency of wanting to take on the world and everything, and everyone in our  families, everyone in our communities; people who we see walking on the street hearts are just pouring out. Run confidently because you have to think about your limitations too. 

Speaking about the four M’s of mental health, she listed Mindfulness, Movement, Mastery and meaningful engagement. 

 “Mindfulness-take time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a lot, maybe five, ten minutes, just a little stillness in our lives. Movement- we don’t move nearly enough. Walk somewhere, take a few extra steps, we need to a little bit of that. Mastery- Do something to challenge yourself. Not just young people need a challenge but we need to …so it’s not enough to look at nice things. Like if make-up is your thing…don’t just watch the tutorial, tamper; do something and see if you get a little bit better…and the last one is Meaningful engagement-We need to connect more meaningfully our community, to our families in a way that’s going to facilitate  that when we do say that ‘Maybe you need some  help’, they trust that it’s coming from a good place. That’s the empathy, that’s the community building that we need in order for us to get better as a nation.” 

‘Make Mental health & Well-being for all a Global Priority” was this year’s theme for World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10.

Contact for the National Counselling Centre are as follows 662-8086 and 465-5000. 

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