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Talking Openly About Mental Health

By Pilar Tamburrino, M.S., LMHC, CEAP
Assistant Director, UM Faculty and Staff Assistance Program

Approximately 1 in 5 adults, 43.8 million Americans, experience some form of mental illness in any given year. The topic of mental illness can be difficult to discuss openly because so many view mental health with a negative stigma. With these issues becoming increasingly prevalent, we must move mental health to the forefront of conversation topics and have transparent discussions about how we truly feel.

Mental health is a state of well-being that encompasses our lives’ emotional, psychological, and social aspects. If you experience mental health problems, it could impact how you think, feel, and act; adversely affecting other areas of your life. Mental disorders are quite common, and there is treatment to help. The stigma, however, often prevents people from seeking treatment, which can isolate them even more and worsen their conditions. Talking about mental health helps improve our communities by making it more acceptable for those suffering from mental illnesses to seek help, learn to cope, and get on the road to recovery. In addition, mental health isn’t just about mental illnesses; it’s also about maintaining a positive state of well-being.

There are things you can do when you experience symptoms or think you might be struggling with a mental health concern. Become aware of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health illnesses to help you spot potential mental health issues. Take an anonymous online screening assessment to check in on your mental well-being with the understanding that only a mental health professional can formally diagnose you or offer the appropriate course of treatment. Therefore, you may choose to find and talk with a mental health professional to evaluate your concerns in greater depth. The University of Miami Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) offers all UM employees and their dependents free, confidential consultations with Florida licensed mental health professionals.

Talking about your feelings can help you maintain good mental health and cope with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your well-being and doing what you can to stay healthy. Talking can be a way to manage a problem you’ve been carrying around for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. When we “open up,” others feel encouraged to do the same.


Click here to read the full Mind and Matter Fall Edition.