Four Ways Therapy Improves Your Mental Health

by Amber Helsel

After years of working through mental health challenges, I’m a huge advocate for anyone of any age going to therapy. It greatly improved my ability to navigate anxiety, depression, and other challenges, and I’m hoping it can help you too. This is part 2 of a 2-part series about the power of therapy.

August of this year will mark 6 years since I started therapy. After going to sessions for years, my mental health has greatly improved. Here are four ways therapy can help improve your mental health too.

Increased Self-Awareness: Therapy provides a safe space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Through having an unbiased person to talk things over with, therapy greatly increased my knowledge of self. We explored my trauma, what triggers it, and how to manage it. We explored my depression and anxiety and in recent years have delved into even deeper issues that have overhauled how I live my life and see myself.

Development of Coping Mechanisms: Many people struggle with unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, self-harm, or in my case, distracting myself with pretty much anything else so I don’t have to deal with the hard things. Therapy can equip you with healthy tools to manage stress, anxiety, and difficult emotions. Therapy gave me strategies to cope with my mental health issues and the language to advocate for myself and my mental health.

Improved Problem-Solving Skills: Problem-solving is probably one of my greatest skills, but that doesn’t mean I’m great at all types of problem-solving. When it comes to the difficult parts of life, my natural tendency is to avoid the issue at all costs. If it were up to me, I’d bury my head in the sand and wait for the problem to pass. Therapy gave me the courage and the knowledge to be able to face those problems head-on.

Challenging Negative Thought Patterns: Our thoughts have a significant impact on our mental well-being. Through therapy, I learned to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with more realistic and helpful ones. I still have a long way to go, but if you knew me before 2018, you’d know how much of a difference therapy has made.

Therapy isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s a powerful tool for building the skills and self-awareness you need to thrive. If you’re looking to improve your mental health, consider giving therapy a try. It might just change your life, like it did mine.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, prioritize your mental well-being and explore available resources. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America offer toolkits, support groups, and helplines. Don’t hesitate to reach out—you deserve to feel your best. Also, find community resources and services here. Keep up with our trainings and sign up for a future Mental Health First Aid training here

My Journey With Depression

by Amber Helsel

This Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to have a candid moment about dealing with depression in the hope of helping others who may be struggling. I also want to share the power of therapy in helping me cope. This is part 1 of a 2-part series focused on mental health and the power of therapy.

Near the end of my first year of college at the University of Mississippi, I experienced my first bout of major depression. Since I had a single dorm room, I was lonely for most of the year. The loneliness didn’t bother me until I started dealing with issues that cropped up in my personal relationships. I cried for about two weeks straight near the end of the school year, and up until a few years ago, I didn’t understand why.

2024 Update: All About the FDA-Approved Birth Control Pill

Opill is now available at stores across the country and doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription!

Ever since the birth control pill first came onto the market in the 1970s, women and girls have had to get a prescription from their doctor. For those in under-resourced and underfunded communities, this can present a challenge. Women in those areas are less likely to have access to effective birth control methods than those in other communities, and Mississippi has the highest rate of teen birth in the U.S.

However, a drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made accessing contraception easier. In July 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opill, an over-the-counter method of birth control. It is now available online and in stores.

Welcome, SHARE Youth Advisory Council Members!

Say hello to our newest group of youth and young adult partners in the SHARE (Sexual Health for Adolescents Rooted in Equity) Youth Advisory Council!

Comprised of bright minds aged 15-24 hailing from all corners of Mississippi—from the Gulf Coast to Desoto County—this diverse group of young leaders is ready to make a difference in their communities!

National Public Health Week: Empowering Youth for a Healthy Future

This week, we celebrate National Public Health Week! Here at Teen Health Mississippi, we are dedicated to ensuring youth and young adults (YYA) have the resources they need to make decisions for their health and well-being. This National Public Health Week, we want to empower you, the trusted adults in their lives, to be champions alongside YYA for their well-being.

The theme for 2024, “Protecting, Connecting, and Thriving: We Are All Public Health,” highlights the importance of building healthy communities. YYA are a vital part of that community, and their well-being is paramount.

Navigating Consent: A Simple Guide by Mariaha

Hey there, everyone! I’m Mariaha. The ME. Project Coordinator here at Teen Health Mississippi, and today, we’re diving into a topic that’s been buzzing around a lot lately—consent. It’s an especially hot topic this month because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Meet the Staff: Amber Helsel, Director of Communications

Hey there, everyone! I’m so excited to introduce you to a super cool person—me! I’m Amber, and I wear two hats—one as the Director of Communications for Teen Health Mississippi, and the other as a graphic designer and illustrator.

Let’s dive into my story a bit!

Where I’m From and What I Wanted to Be

I was born and raised in the metro area. Back when I was a teen, I had big dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Picture me sketching stylish outfits and dreaming about seeing them on the runway. 

Mississippi Youth Council Hosts 10th Annual Capitol Day

On February 29, 2024, the Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil), a project of Teen Health Mississippi, will host its 10th annual Capitol Day, which will feature a press conference, legislative luncheon, and a tabling event at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson.

MYCouncil is a group of youth, ages 15-24, from across Mississippi that advocates for equitable health outcomes of Mississippi youth, such as high-quality sex education, youth-friendly healthcare, and sexual and reproductive and mental health resources. MYCouncil members will be meeting with state lawmakers throughout Capitol Day to advocate for issues that matter to them and what changes our legislature can make so that youth and communities can attain equitable health outcomes. MYCouncil is working to educate our legislators about their experiences, thoughts, and desires on issues that impact young people in our state.

Meet the Staff: Triuna Taylor, Director of Community Based Education—Gulf Coast Expansion

Ever wanted to know more about the staff at THMS?  Here’s a little bit about who they are and how they came to do the work they do today. 

Hey everyone, it’s Triuna Taylor here, and I’m excited to share my journey with all you awesome readers. Life has a funny way of leading us down unexpected paths, and my story is no exception. From dreaming of being a speech pathologist to becoming the Director of Community Based Education at Team Health, Mississippi, it’s been quite the ride. So, buckle up and let’s dive into my story.

Triuna’s Early Years

I come from the small town of Greenwood, Mississippi, but these days, you can find me soaking up the sun in Pensacola, Florida. Back in my teenage years, I had this big dream of becoming a speech pathologist. Little did I know that life had different plans for me.

Teen Health Mississippi Unveils New Vision for Holistic Youth Well-Being

Teen Health Mississippi (THMS) proudly announces the launch of its transformative mission and vision, signaling a significant shift towards equitable health outcomes for youth and communities through a comprehensive and holistic approach to youth well-being.

The Journey Towards Holistic Well-being

Founded with a focus on sex education and youth-friendly health care, THMS recognizes the necessity to embrace holistic approaches to address the myriad challenges faced by young people. The organization will now actively pursue equitable and supportive healthcare, community- and school-based sex education, mental health supports, innovation in youth-led programming, youth advocacy, workforce development, and leadership/life skills for all youth, including justice-involved and expectant/parenting youth.

Dr. Hope Crenshaw, Executive Director of Teen Health Mississippi, emphasizes the importance of providing resources and information to support youth on their journey to adulthood.