Why Mental Therapy Should Be A Part Of Your Year, And How You Can Possibly Get It For Free
Black folks need therapy, too.
By Tanya Barnett
I know, I know. You’re already working diligently on your long to-do list and taking steps to get you closer to your goals for 2018. I’m so excited for you! I’m actually doing the exact same thing. However, you must add one very important thing to your 2018 goals list, especially with the untimely suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=24” rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health, Adult black/African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites.
The thing I want you to add to your 2018 lists is therapy. Yes, you read that correctly, therapy. I know as the year churns on, we see and hear of so many people committing to these elaborate plans. At the beginning of the year, we attended vision board parties and left motivated to find the cure for cancer. We scroll through countless Instagram posts with awesome inspirational quotes, and pin them to our Pinterest boards. This is all extremely cool and commendable, however, have you stopped to think about if you have the mental fortitude to get the job done?
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel, purposes are disappointed.” Well, there you have it. It is even in the Bible that we should seek counsel, counseling and, I would venture to say, therapy. No matter who you are, you need to seek help to get your mind right, work your issues through or simply vent.
I know you got it all together with your fly and fabulous self. Your kids are super perfect, you have the best boyfriend or husband in the world and your bank account is overflowing with money. On the other hand, there are some of us who have kids that are tripping in school and at home, we aren’t connecting with the men in our lives and refuse to answer the phone with a number we don’t know. Trust me, I’ve been there. I actually wrote a book about it.
I totally get the frustration and dread of facing these situations. When your home life is a mess, it is hard to stay motivated enough to get out the bed to grab the remote. There are just some things your sister and your girlfriends can’t help you with. I don’t care how many double stuffed Oreos you eat with your favorite wine or how many episodes of Insecure you binge on, life can still be overwhelming.
Here’s my suggestion to give yourself a reprieve or some relief from pressure: Dust off your insurance card, call the number on the back and ask about your EAP benefits.
According to OPM.gov, “Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders.”
Most companies give you eight free sessions. Count them up: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
I use my sessions every year to get my mind back on track. Since my husband, Don, switched jobs a couple of years ago, I was able to get eight more free sessions. I used them even new year, and even while I went through a re-branding of my website and embarking on this new journey. There have been periods of stress for me and I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. My therapist is great and she loved hearing about the progress of The Real Wife Movement.
My husband and I have also used our EAP benefit for marriage counseling. I would highly suggest doing this to give your marriage an opportunity to hit the reset button if things are not where you want them to be. Our 18-year-old daughter used her sessions two summers ago when she was struggling with transitioning from 10th grade to 11th grade. Don even opted to use his free eight sessions last month to get clarity about what he wanted the rest of his 2018 to look like.
Therapy is one thing we don’t talk about in our community. It’s so taboo but folks are suffering in silence. We have to stop this insanity of carrying burdens we do not need to bear alone.
I implore you to look into using your free sessions for whatever you want. It can be for stress on the job, moving, having a new baby or, like I did, starting an expansion of a business. Have this conversation with your honey, your family and your friends. Let them know they are leaving free services on the table every single year.
So, do yourself a favor and add therapy sessions to your 2018 goal list. You will be glad you did.
Here is a list of Work-Life Agency Coordinators for all federal government agencies. These people will answer any questions you may have about your EAP benefits.