Mental illness is a scary prospect when you’re facing it alone. Your mood is erratic, and things can seem as though they are out of control. The first stage is coming to terms with the fact you might be struggling. This involves a fair amount of self-reflection, which can be difficult to do when feelings of low self-esteem and little confidence are setting in.

Identifying the fact you need help is one thing, but seeking it and finding the right support is another. Many won’t know where to turn first, so here we look at a few ideas of what you can do if you think you have a mental illness.

Talk To A Friend

Firstly, it’s important to let someone know how you’re feeling. This might be difficult, but having the support of your friends or a family member will be invaluable. They will be able to support you in any way you need and give you the confidence to take the next steps. A good friend won’t be judgemental and will sit and listen to anything you’re going through. They might not know how to give you advice, but they will undoubtedly be helpful.

Sometimes, just talking things through can be enough to help you feel better about your situation. Getting things off your chest is healthy and will enable you to start to come to terms with your situation. If you can decide to see a professional yourself, then you’re one step closer to starting your recovery.


A psychiatrist is a medically trained doctor that has specialized in the field of mental health. They help to prevent, diagnose, and treat any form of mental illness. When training, psychiatrists go through four years of medical school followed by an internship and three years of specialized psychiatric training. These licensed professionals are also able to monitor the effects of mental illness on the body. For example, high blood pressure or any heart problems. Not only this, but they can see the effects of medication on your body like your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.

Because of this, psychiatrists can write prescriptions. Many forms of mental illness can be treated effectively with medication, like depression, anxiety, and ADHD, but sometimes this isn’t enough. There are some cases where combined treatment of medication and therapy will be much more effective.


Psychologists have a degree in psychology, the study of the mind and behaviors. This provides a psychologist with education to evaluate and treat mental illness and emotional disorders. Usually, after completing their degree, a psychologist will complete an internship that will last up to three years. This provides further training and allows them to understand more treatment methods, psychological theory, and behavioral therapy.

Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists aren’t medical doctors, so they aren’t licensed or able to write prescriptions. They are, however, able to provide treatment and perform psychological tests. It’s often found that both psychologists and psychiatrists will work together to provide the best, all-around treatment for a patient.


A counselor is someone that is a professional within the field of mental health. They usually have a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or another field related to mental health. They will go through at least two years of training working with a qualified mental health professional after graduating to gain experience and understanding of other forms of treatment. A counselor is trained to treat mental health issues by offering and providing counseling or psychotherapy, but they aren’t able to write prescriptions.

Counseling can offer different forms of treatment. One of the more popular is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), which will give you the mental tools to help deal with your day to day stresses. Sometimes medication isn’t needed, so this might be the best form of treatment if you want to avoid medicine.

Mental Health Nurse

Many nurses have chosen to get specialized training, which allows them to provide mental health services. Those that are more qualified will be able to evaluate patients for mental illness and provide treatment. This comes in the form of psychotherapy. Because of their medical background, in some states, they are allowed to prescribe medication and monitor the effects on the patient. This is either under the supervision of a medical doctor or independently.

There are plenty of people out there to talk to. Whether you want to start small and speak to your friends and family about your struggles, or you want to go straight to a trained professional. It’s essential to take the first steps to get you out of feeling low. Many suffer from depression for years without seeking help, which can affect your life in many ways. Don’t let depression take hold, take the first step, and seek advice.