Speaking Mental Health
Forward Times Mental Health Advisors
Generally speaking, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety may lead to speech deficits such as long pauses during a conversation. Oftentimes, people are trying to process the information or simply trying to remember specific details that they are speaking about. Mental health issues may cause memory loss as well as processing issues. People who are depressed tend to be interrupted a lot because of this. It can further lead to frustration and cause poor social skills.
When people experience traumatic events, they may have difficulty recalling specific details about the event or they remember the event out of chronological order as it appears jumbled in their minds. This tends to lead to behavior changes and cause tension in relationships and difficulties at work.
As we continue to experience multiple issues of racism and oppression, Black people may not be aware of how communication is impacted by our environment as it impairs our mental health. In these cases, when family or friends appear to be confused or frustrated with communication, having patience and helping them to put things in perspective may relieve a great deal of the stress and anxiety that they are experiencing.
When having trouble communicating, many people tend to become frustrated and become reluctant to engage in conversations about certain topics. This could appear that they are being evasive or not telling the truth. Poor communication can lead to a downward spiral. The less people socialize, the less they communicate with others which may reduce confidence even further and result in more self-imposed isolation. It could also appear that they are less competent and lead many children to be placed in difficult situations in school. There are several ways to relieve the anxiety and allow the body to regulate so that processing may become easier. Taking time to relax and do things that you enjoy usually allows time to disconnect from the stress of the day. Taking nature walks, trying a new hobby, or taking a long bath could also help to relieve anxiety. Exercise and deep breathing techniques have been found to be helpful in providing more oxygen to the brain which could help with processing and communication.
If the situation persists, it is likely that seeking a mental health professional could provide more insight on how to cope with life’s issues. Becoming more aware of your body and realizing that mental health is just as important as physical health helps to remove the stigma of going to therapy. While we are still falling below the norm with the availability of Black mental health professionals, the number of therapists of color is increasing. Take the time to value your mental health and remove the stigma of seeking help.
Dr. Angela M. Powell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Progressive Counseling & Consulting, LLC., specializing in youth trauma, anxiety, and depression.