Insights Into Teens

Insights Into Teens: Episode 174 “Ways to Improve Mental Health Without Therapy”

July 24, 2023 Madison and Joseph Whalen Season 5 Episode 174
Insights Into Teens: Episode 174 “Ways to Improve Mental Health Without Therapy”
Insights Into Teens
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Insights Into Teens
Insights Into Teens: Episode 174 “Ways to Improve Mental Health Without Therapy”
Jul 24, 2023 Season 5 Episode 174
Madison and Joseph Whalen

What do you do if you need mental health help but you can’t get it. Maybe it’s too costly. Maybe you don’t have insurance that covers it. Maybe you’re not conveniently located to meet with a therapist. 

On this Episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to look at some options you have that are low cost, easy access and things you can do on your own to help your mental health.


Create Harmony

This is a podcast about setting an intentional rhythm, savoring life’s blessings and...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What do you do if you need mental health help but you can’t get it. Maybe it’s too costly. Maybe you don’t have insurance that covers it. Maybe you’re not conveniently located to meet with a therapist. 

On this Episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to look at some options you have that are low cost, easy access and things you can do on your own to help your mental health.


Create Harmony

This is a podcast about setting an intentional rhythm, savoring life’s blessings and...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

00:00:03:18 - 00:00:53:06
Michelle
Insightful podcasts by informative host insights into Things, a podcast network. Welcome to Insights into Teens, a podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today's youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

00:00:53:08 - 00:01:10:02
Joseph
Welcome to Insights into Teens. This is episode 174 Ways to Improve Mental Health Without Therapy. I'm your host, Joseph Whalen, and my healthy and happy co-host, Madison Whalen.

00:01:10:05 - 00:01:11:16
Madison
Hi, everyone.

00:01:11:19 - 00:01:13:02
Joseph
You seem proud, hesitant there.

00:01:13:05 - 00:01:19:09
Madison
Well, I don't I entirely agree with how you are. You know, you're A.L.S..

00:01:19:09 - 00:01:21:20
Joseph
You're pretty close. You're pretty close there.

00:01:21:23 - 00:01:22:24
Madison
Good enough. Really.

00:01:23:00 - 00:01:24:22
Joseph
How are you doing today?

00:01:24:25 - 00:01:26:10
Madison
All right. How about you?

00:01:26:17 - 00:01:31:27
Joseph
I'm doing all right. A week is grinding on here. It's Thursday now, so it's almost over. Fortunately.

00:01:32:03 - 00:01:33:04
Madison
That's good.

00:01:33:07 - 00:01:37:06
Joseph
Anything exciting going on with you?

00:01:37:08 - 00:01:46:27
Madison
You know, I've kind of been, you know, chilling, I guess. I've kind of tried to take on some projects. I guess.

00:01:47:00 - 00:01:48:28
Joseph
How's that working out?

00:01:49:00 - 00:01:50:05
Madison
You know how.

00:01:50:07 - 00:01:52:23
Joseph
It you let alone the things that.

00:01:52:23 - 00:01:58:05
Madison
I know, how good I cannot. How good can it really be?

00:01:58:07 - 00:02:29:29
Joseph
And I got to work on that inspirational word. Maybe it'll be a good podcast. How do we inspire ourselves? Well, that is not what we're talking about today. Today we are talking about ways to improve mental health without therapy. And one of the things that we do on this podcast quite frequently, in fact, our last ten part series, nine part series was all about mental health, is try to find ways to help people out, you know, with encouragement, different resources that you can try, different techniques that people try, meditation and so forth.

00:02:29:29 - 00:02:53:08
Joseph
So a lot of this podcast has been about trying to help people with their mental health because not everybody can afford to go to therapy, you know, where you need mental help, but you can't get it. Maybe it's too costly, maybe you don't have the insurance to cover it. Maybe it's just not conveniently located where you are. Maybe there's not a therapist that you like that's close by.

00:02:53:11 - 00:03:20:15
Joseph
Well, on today's episode of Insights into Teens, we're going to go in and specifically look at different techniques that we've gathered over several podcast and through additional research that we've done to give you options that are low cost, easy access, things that you can do on your own to help your own mental health. Before we do that now, I do want to taking a moment to invite our listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast.

00:03:20:17 - 00:03:47:15
Joseph
You can find audio versions of this podcast listed as insights into teens. You can find audio and video versions of all the network's podcasts, all three of them soon to be for hopefully listeners insights into things we're basically doing where you get a podcast. Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, etc.. We'd also invite you to write in, give us your feedback, or catch us on social media.

00:03:47:17 - 00:04:14:17
Joseph
You can email us at comments and insights into things dot com and you can find us on Twitter at insights, underscore things, or you can visit our main website at WW w that insights into things dot com for links to all that and much more on our main site. Are we ready? Yes. All right here we go.

00:04:14:20 - 00:04:35:25
Joseph
So the topic itself kind of sparked my interest when I was reading, believe it or not, on CNN, which is a a tech website that I read news on a lot of times. And they talk about a lot of different things. But in this particular case, they really kind of hit the nail on the head about therapy and why people might not actually go to get therapy.

00:04:35:25 - 00:04:58:25
Joseph
And we've talked about before the the stigma surrounding mental health and the fact that, you know, there's society itself has traditionally frowned on that. But when people really do need it, they recognize the they need help with their mental health and find out when they go to look for it that either it's expensive or they can't get it.

00:04:58:27 - 00:05:28:08
Joseph
Then there's there's problems. So therapy is expensive. Sliding scale payments, insurance and online therapy options can make it more affordable. But the fact is, therapy is still out of reach for a lot of people. Traditional therapy, you know, a single session can cost anywhere from 100 up to $200, and that's without insurance. Online therapy services like Betterhelp and Talkspace have made therapy more affordable.

00:05:28:10 - 00:06:03:01
Joseph
There are usually around 60 to $90 per session. So of the one in five Americans who live with mental illness, only 20% retreat it in 2020, which, you know, if you think about that from an illness or an injury standpoint, if only 20% of the people who need need help are getting it, that's a pretty low percentage. Therapy is the gold standard for mental health treatment in most areas, but sometimes therapy just isn't available, whether it's because of location or finances.

00:06:03:03 - 00:06:08:14
Joseph
Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your mental health without spending money.

00:06:08:16 - 00:06:40:20
Madison
One of those methods is to use mental health apps to track daily progress. Mental health apps offer resources to people who otherwise couldn't get them. Well, they're not a substitute for therapy and can diagnose conditions. Mental health apps like Mood Fit and Central are great tools to use on your mental wellness journey. The best mental health apps will help you relieve stress and anxiety and teach you how to manage symptoms in the future.

00:06:40:23 - 00:07:11:21
Madison
There's a lot of variety in what these apps offer and the features that are built in. Many offer a great catalog of educational resources to help you learn about conditions and adapt coping strategies to manage them daily mental health apps can also be a reminder to check up Check in on yourself. Most tend most send push notifications throughout the day, which can be used as an indicator to stop and assess how you're feeling.

00:07:11:23 - 00:07:40:26
Joseph
One of the things that we've talked about a lot here is what's called cognitive behavior therapy. And there's a lot of strategies that CBT strategies, they're called, that you can use. They can help you treat depression, anxiety, addiction, CBT strategies are tools that are intended to be taken outside of therapy sessions and used in daily life. It's often called self therapy or self-directed therapy.

00:07:40:28 - 00:08:14:18
Joseph
Again, it isn't a replacement for traditional therapy with a professional, but it can supplement your mental health efforts when you don't have access to professional therapy. This self-help strategy is best reserved for those with moderate symptoms that don't affect daily tasks. Self-help treatments can decrease anxiety and depression. Self-Directed therapy results were moderate, according to a recent review, so people didn't feel 100% better, but they reported feeling less anxious or depressed.

00:08:14:21 - 00:08:39:13
Joseph
If you're interested in self-directed therapy strategies to improve your mental well-being, you should check out the Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies list of books, which will drop a link in the show notes. So one of the things we've discussed here, what have we tried? We've obviously tried a lot of the things that we've talked about here. What are some of the things that you have found to be most effective?

00:08:39:16 - 00:09:07:22
Madison
Most effective? When it came to my mental health, I guess, of kind of taking the time to, you know, have time for self-care. Really, I guess like, you know, taking a break from, you know, the stresses of daily life and kind of just having a day to be like, okay, let's just, you know, we don't have to worry about anything else.

00:09:07:24 - 00:09:15:23
Madison
Let's just have some time to chill. Let's do what you want. Let's just not think about it too much, okay?

00:09:15:26 - 00:09:21:16
Joseph
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, right. I mean it or it's fine.

00:09:21:18 - 00:09:46:26
Madison
So, yeah, that's probably like, the main thing that's helped me. And I guess also the podcast almost acts as therapy at this point. You know, it's technically, technically the podcast is more or less just talking my feelings out or, or talking about topics related to my feelings to you, which I yes, You know, communicating with people who you trust is also a way to help improve your mental health.

00:09:47:02 - 00:10:12:20
Joseph
That's a very good point. Now, I've used apps like like com, for instance, comms, a great one for meditation and self-reflection. Sleep apps tend to help to of the kind that give you the the white noise. It's they almost act like meditative apps that help to clear your mind and reduce your stress and anxiety and stuff like that.

00:10:12:22 - 00:10:26:22
Joseph
Have you had any experience with any kind of application on your phone or anything like that, that that is good or helpful for mental health, even journaling apps, anything like that?

00:10:26:24 - 00:10:51:29
Madison
Not really. Honestly, the only thing I've ever really used is meditation music to help me sleep when I've been stressed. But other than that, it's not really been something that I've done other than like maybe listening to music, like, not entirely therapy apps, but rather just music in general. But I guess I kind of more or less just went with the idea of giving myself just some time to relax.

00:10:52:01 - 00:11:15:07
Joseph
Well, and you know, it's funny to point that out because I think music therapy is a very valid form of therapy. You know, sometimes it's one of those things where if you're stressed out, you just need to to kind of blink out and veg. Music is a great way of doing that. I know Mommy and I sleep with the meditation music on all the time and and the sounds and the tones from the meditation.

00:11:15:07 - 00:11:42:25
Joseph
Help to activate certain parts of your brain. So even just meditative music or Gregorian chants, you know, some people will love to hear Gregorian chants or just tonal music, something like that, something that will trigger those parts of the brain. So I think they all kind of qualify. Is there anything else that you find that you wind up doing to help yourself?

00:11:42:25 - 00:12:09:27
Joseph
Is there specific self-care care rituals that you tend to do? I know some some people like to brush their hair as a therapeutic thing. Some people I don't know. A lot of times it's just me. It's it's sitting in front of a TV and watching a documentary and just sort of vegging out. But are there any specific self-care things that you find yourself either looking forward to or doing on a regular basis?

00:12:09:27 - 00:12:10:27
Joseph
Because they help?

00:12:11:00 - 00:12:12:15
Madison
I eat chocolate.

00:12:12:18 - 00:12:15:01
Joseph
Chocolate can be very therapeutic.

00:12:15:03 - 00:12:32:12
Madison
I also play games like The Sims, which I'd say is a pretty therapeutic game because you're either building or you make them sims or you just taking out you frustrations on the Sims by, you know, putting them into a swimming pool, taking over the pool ladder and, you know, putting fences around.

00:12:32:12 - 00:12:58:06
Joseph
But that's kind of demented. But okay, so, so it sounds like what your creative side of things is, is your, your relaxation. Like do you do art, do you do your writing? Is any of that stuff? Are they things that help you? Because as I tell you, writing is something that helps me relax once I get it takes a while to get into that writing mood.

00:12:58:06 - 00:13:06:10
Joseph
But once I start writing and I'm in the zone, it's very relaxing for me. If you find the same type of thing when you're doing your creative stuff.

00:13:06:12 - 00:13:25:04
Madison
Yeah, I have a harder time when it comes to writing because I have a much harder time. Like, you know, getting into the mood forward. So half the time I kind of just give up. But when it comes to drawing, I find it much easier to actually like get in the zone and it becomes very therapeutic. When I do, it's good.

00:13:25:09 - 00:13:39:15
Joseph
And I think these are all good techniques that we do, and everyone tries to usually find something that works best for them. And what works best for me probably isn't going to work best for the next person. So a lot of times I think it's just experimentation.

00:13:39:17 - 00:13:40:07
Madison
Yeah.

00:13:40:09 - 00:14:23:08
Joseph
We're going to take our first break here. When we come back, we're going to talk about some common self-directed therapies. We'll be right back. For over seven years, the second Siff Empire has been the premiere community guild in the online game, Star Wars, The Old Republic, with hundreds of friendly and helpful active members, a weekly schedule of nightly events, annual guild, meet and greets, and an active community both on the Web and on Discord.

00:14:23:11 - 00:14:58:23
Joseph
The Second Civ Empire is more than your typical gaming group. We're family. Join us on the Star Forge server for nightly events such as Operation Flashpoints, World Boss Funds, Star Wars, Trivia Guild, Lottery and much more. Visit us on the web today at WW W the second civ and Empire dot com.

00:14:58:25 - 00:15:00:17
Madison
Welcome.

00:15:00:19 - 00:15:06:04
Joseph
I didn't do that. I cut the transition this hour but I can get the camera roll.

00:15:06:07 - 00:15:14:19
Madison
Anyway welcome back to insights into teens. Today we're talking about ways to improve mental health without therapy.

00:15:14:21 - 00:15:17:29
Joseph
Yeah, I could use some of that right about now, too.

00:15:18:01 - 00:15:42:18
Madison
And now we're going to talk about some common self-directed therapy techniques. So journaling is a popular technique. Writing down your thoughts and feelings and reflecting on them can help you identify negative thoughts and behavior patterns. Once you're aware, you can take meaningful steps toward making changes. Many people find comfort in guided courses with self-directed therapy. You have to start somewhere.

00:15:42:20 - 00:16:08:23
Madison
Guided courses can help you learn methods and tactics for daily management. You can consult the National Alliance on Mental Health, on know on Mental Illness for its mental health education directory. As previously mentioned, there's also mental health apps that can help. Many mental health apps use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to reduce anxiety and help manage symptoms.

00:16:08:25 - 00:16:37:26
Joseph
Another common technique is to stay connected to others. It's important to connect with other people, especially those experiencing similar things. Studies show that connecting to others can provide a sense of meaning and purpose and decrease loneliness. Group therapy or support groups are typically led by a mental health professional or a group leader and can be low cost or free, whether it be friends, family or strangers.

00:16:37:28 - 00:17:02:15
Joseph
Sharing your feelings and experiences is essential. You can also use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website to locate community resources. Near you will drop a link in the show Notes on this as well. Connections with people aren't the only ones that can help improve your mental health. Pets and animals can reduce stress and anxiety levels.

00:17:02:18 - 00:17:05:24
Joseph
We have cats here that are therapy cats most of the time.

00:17:05:28 - 00:17:07:01
Madison
Yep.

00:17:07:04 - 00:17:23:07
Joseph
Take some intentional time to hang out with your pet. Play with your dog, hug your cat. If you don't have a pet, you can volunteer at a local animal shelter or humane society. Fostering pets or pet sitting animals is also an option.

00:17:23:10 - 00:17:53:05
Madison
Another way is to practice mindfulness and meditation, something that we've talked about in the podcast before. Meditation has a history that stretches back thousands of years, but it's become an extremely popular stress relieving practice in the last few years. In the last few years, mindfulness helps you become more attuned to what you're feeling and thinking, which helps you manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively rather than becoming overwhelmed by them.

00:17:53:07 - 00:18:12:03
Madison
Mindfulness uses techniques like meditation and breathwork to improve your mental health. Mindfulness can help you manage symptoms of anxiety and other mental health disorders by helping you understand and cope with what you're feeling. Studies show that meditation can help reduce stress. Elevate some Oh, no.

00:18:12:06 - 00:18:15:13
Joseph
We don't want to elevate these symptoms.

00:18:15:16 - 00:18:37:06
Madison
Alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety, and help you sleep. The focus is on mind and body integration, which can help you enhance your mental well-being. You can also use meditation apps to reduce stress and help maintain your mindfulness regimen. These free or low cost apps are great for beginners.

00:18:37:08 - 00:18:46:08
Joseph
So how therapeutic is it for you to spend time with a cat? This is definitely worth exploring.

00:18:46:10 - 00:18:52:02
Madison
Okay, so I don't think it's any secret that we have cats.

00:18:52:02 - 00:18:55:04
Joseph
Obviously no secret at all.

00:18:55:06 - 00:19:05:26
Madison
So I like to spend time with the cats, obviously. And one particular cat tends to sleep in my room at night.

00:19:05:29 - 00:19:08:28
Joseph
And poop in there from time to time.

00:19:09:00 - 00:19:37:11
Madison
I was curious, have you got to mention that? But she's honestly one of the most affectionate cats I've ever been near, which is saying something considering our cats. Drew But she very much likes to cuddle and she is very nice to pet. And I know a lot of people kind of have the stigma against cats where it's like, Oh, they're jerks.

00:19:37:11 - 00:19:41:01
Madison
They're just going to mess up your house. They think that they own everything and.

00:19:41:01 - 00:19:41:26
Joseph
They are they do.

00:19:41:26 - 00:19:59:22
Madison
All that. Yeah, they do. They do all of that. But like, no one's talking about the actual benefits the cats have, like just sitting down with their cat and having it trust you enough to either let it pet you or sit on you or try to actually mug you instead of you mugging the cat.

00:19:59:24 - 00:20:07:24
Joseph
Or to sit down with the cat and try to watch TV and your cat button the feed. That seems to be a popular pastime for my cat.

00:20:07:26 - 00:20:19:06
Madison
Yeah. Like there's so many just nice things that happens with cats that's just incredibly therapeutic. Like, the minute I look into my own cat's eyes, like I can never. She steals.

00:20:19:06 - 00:20:22:18
Joseph
Your soul.

00:20:22:20 - 00:20:28:08
Madison
I can never not look at my cat, pumpkin, and, like, not think that she's adorable.

00:20:28:12 - 00:20:28:24
Joseph
Right?

00:20:29:00 - 00:20:50:03
Madison
And also, every time she meows, more chirps than anything. Like, it just gives me so much more life and really, I feel like that's how a lot of people kind of see their cats. Like, everybody knows that cats are jerks. Like, cat owners know that cat can be jerks. Cat owners know that. They think that they own everything.

00:20:50:03 - 00:21:00:12
Madison
And cat owners know that cats will make a mess of things and expect the humans to clean it up because they feel like they're the there were their pets, basically.

00:21:00:14 - 00:21:02:25
Joseph
Yeah, pretty much. That's true for all cats.

00:21:02:28 - 00:21:22:09
Madison
But the nice thing is the cats can still really be therapeutic and are somewhat and can still act as support to you when you are in your time of need. Like again. Ah, one cat is just very affectionate and doesn't really care if you're feeling sad or not because she just wants love.

00:21:22:12 - 00:21:34:00
Joseph
That's true. And the interesting thing about cats is they are intuitive. They they can tell when you're not feeling well or if you're sad and they'll react to you. They're very empathic that way.

00:21:34:02 - 00:21:34:14
Madison
Yep.

00:21:34:20 - 00:21:57:13
Joseph
But I think we throw enough love of the cat on this one here. Let's get down to some of the more pedestrian techniques that we have here. I'm not journaling. Have you ever been a journal or a diary writer or anything like that where you put your thoughts down at the end of the day or at some point during the day to pen and paper and and have have you done that?

00:21:57:13 - 00:22:00:21
Joseph
And has it helped you? And if you haven't done it, why not?

00:22:00:24 - 00:22:22:18
Madison
Okay. Well, I technically had a diary when I was, like much younger, but it wasn't at all really due to like anything about mental health that was kind of just like I had a book. I thought the idea of making a diary is cool. So I just wrote random stuff down about the days and stuff, and I did not know how a diary ended up working because I thought I had to put a secret at the end every time.

00:22:22:18 - 00:22:55:25
Madison
And I put a secret down every time. It it wasn't really a good journal. And unfortunately, I've never really had a diary since then. But there have been times where I've kind of written down stuff. It's normally in a time when I'm like, really, like, sad, angry, or like, things aren't going well and I'll pretty much just write down all of my thoughts on a piece of paper and the idea is that I'm going to look back at it eventually and realize, okay, that was a bit extreme and then kind of just tossed the paper away to get those thoughts out, basically.

00:22:56:02 - 00:23:23:06
Joseph
Yeah. And and for a lot of people, writing or journaling is a very regulating type of thing, getting emotions out on paper rather than keeping them bottled up. The symbology of that is very effective for a lot of people. A lot of people will write these things down, these and a lot of times it's complicated things or it's very dear to your heart and emotional type things, and it's difficult to hold those inside and and deal with them.

00:23:23:08 - 00:23:42:19
Joseph
So a lot of people will write them down and then reflect on them and it helps them to work them out. Yeah, I used to be a journal or myself and I don't anymore. And it's just I'll be honest, I'm just lazy. It's, you know, I don't like writing my hands. So if it's something that I can type, I'm okay.

00:23:42:21 - 00:24:06:24
Joseph
I find I inadvertently journal at work because something will happen at work and I'll start to draft an email with my thoughts and I won't send it. And I learned my lesson not to send it because I've I've inadvertently or accidentally sent them in the past and gotten into the trouble. So I won't even put I won't even fill in the to address.

00:24:06:24 - 00:24:28:28
Joseph
I'll just start in the body and I'll just start dumping my brain into this email and I'll go back and reread it three or four times. And as I go back and reread it, it's a calming effect on me. Like, you know, it wasn't that big of a deal or, you know, I've done worse things than that. And I start talking myself through what I wrote down.

00:24:29:04 - 00:24:29:16
Madison
Yeah.

00:24:29:21 - 00:24:55:05
Joseph
And by the time I get done doing my end, it's usually nine and nine times out of ten. And then, I mean, send the email. But it's one of those things that kind of helps. You know, I don't want to make fun of the phrase, but it talked me off the ledge kind of where, you know, I'm so upset, I'm so agitated by this that I'm going to do something too, so that this whatever random injustice that's insignificant in the grand scheme of things doesn't happen again.

00:24:55:07 - 00:25:00:06
Joseph
Yeah. And by the time I get done, it's not even worth writing me email anymore.

00:25:00:09 - 00:25:26:03
Madison
Yeah, and a funny thing that I've kind of realized is that I technically have a modern journal, but due to my creative nature, it's not a journal in the sense that it's about my day to day life. It's a journal in the ways that I basically make up stories in my head and then have this character in mind that basically is writing in their own diary and basically is like explaining their day.

00:25:26:03 - 00:25:39:00
Madison
Like I had one words, like there was the space girl who was going to a new school on another planet or whatever. And then there was one where there was this one person who was trapped on an island after a plane crash with their worst enemy.

00:25:39:08 - 00:26:26:29
Joseph
Well, and, you know, metaphorical journaling like that is effective, too. It allows you to explore emotions that you might not even know you're having because you don't experience them often enough to be familiar to label them. So when you kind of go down that that that that thought path, that thought experiment and do that on paper fictionally, it's something that actually helps you to cope with those types of emotions as well, which is kind of, you know, why some of the discussions that we have about your creative stuff, when I ask certain questions about it, those questions are related to the story, but it's really more exploring your mental state or your your perspective or

00:26:26:29 - 00:26:43:29
Joseph
point of view on these things. And, you know, how do you find those kind of conversations, those creative brainstorming sessions that we have? Do you find those? I mean, I know you find them creative, but you find those it all therapeutic.

00:26:44:02 - 00:26:50:26
Madison
I guess, in a way, even though that's technically not like the main intent for it. Yeah.

00:26:50:29 - 00:26:53:18
Joseph
Yeah. It's one of the tertiary benefits, I suppose.

00:26:53:24 - 00:26:54:28
Madison
I guess so.

00:26:55:00 - 00:27:23:18
Joseph
What about guided courses? Have you ever done any kind of kind of courses? I know you used to go to women gathering with Mommy and they would do a lot of groups, session type courses and stuff like that. I think you may have been a little young for some of the stuff that they did, but even some of the stuff that they do at Mommy's Red tent and stuff, they're really guided courses because you've kind of got someone there running the session and going through these exercises.

00:27:23:21 - 00:27:27:22
Joseph
Have you ever done anything yet or consider doing anything like that?

00:27:27:25 - 00:27:47:14
Madison
I mean, the closest thing I've done of that recently was a group therapy session I did through my school's counseling service, and I honestly found that a pretty good session, even though we talked, maybe we didn't get a lot of time to talk about the topics that we had all kind of hoped we were going to talk about.

00:27:47:16 - 00:28:01:11
Madison
It was still just a nice time to get out of class and just basically take a break from the day and you know, just talk with people who had similar interests and kind of just have time to chill, basically.

00:28:01:13 - 00:28:12:19
Joseph
Now, the benefits that you got from that was that from the person running or guiding it, or was that from just hearing other people or sharing with other people?

00:28:12:21 - 00:28:35:24
Madison
There's a combination of both, because the way that the counselors ended up running, it was honestly pretty smooth. And I honestly had a lot of fun in the ways of like the activities we did, but also hearing the experiences from others. I ended up relating to a decent amount of them and you know, it was nice hearing about other people's experiences and we didn't like all shared the same experience.

00:28:35:24 - 00:28:43:24
Madison
But I thought that was kind of neat that we were all at least able to kind of have a space where we could be openly open to openly talk about that kind of stuff.

00:28:44:00 - 00:28:49:09
Joseph
Now that's something that they're doing planning to do next year that you're going to participate in.

00:28:49:11 - 00:29:00:26
Madison
I think they are planning to do it next year. They just had a hard time getting it off the ground this year and if they are doing that, then yes, I am going to try to join, if I can.

00:29:00:28 - 00:29:38:13
Joseph
Now, along the same lines, do you see yourself as being a person who could facilitate something like that? You know, you're coming into your junior year now, right? So you're you're you're getting up there in years. So you're reaching that point where you've got underclassmen who might be looking at you as a mentor type person. Do you think you would be comfortable running something like that for underclassmen to maybe get other people interested in and sharing and benefiting themselves and other people?

00:29:38:15 - 00:29:42:00
Joseph
Or are you more of the let's stay in the background type?

00:29:42:02 - 00:30:01:18
Madison
I mean, I wouldn't mind it if that would happen. Like my underclassmen aren't really like completely young when it comes to me. I don't know if I would really be great around like pretty young kids, but if it's really and just like the high school level, I think I could probably handle it.

00:30:01:20 - 00:30:22:27
Joseph
And that's kind of what I'm thinking. You know, if there's a group out there and the counselor who's leading the group now might start looking for people that can mentor, you know, eighth and ninth graders and start, you know, groups, if it becomes popular, they might need help to start group or something like that. And you might be a good candidate for that.

00:30:23:00 - 00:30:24:12
Madison
Yeah.

00:30:24:15 - 00:30:35:17
Joseph
Well, anyway, we're going to take our next break. And when we come back, we're going to talk about some practical ways to improve our mental health. We'll be right back.

00:30:35:20 - 00:30:43:24
Madison
All right.

00:30:43:26 - 00:31:15:25
Michelle
Insights into entertainment, a podcast series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things from music and movies to television and fandom. We'll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week. We'll talk about theme park and pop culture news. We'll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions.

00:31:15:27 - 00:31:46:12
Michelle
We'll give you a deep dive into Disney, Star Wars and much more. Check out our video episodes at YouTube.com. Backslash Insights into things are audio. Episodes at podcast are insights into entertainment dot com or check us out on the web at insights into things icon.

00:31:46:15 - 00:32:10:13
Madison
Welcome back to Insights into Teens. Today we're talking about ways to improve mental health without therapy. And now we're going to talk about some practical things you can do to improve your mental health, you know, without therapy. So exercise is a great way to improve mental health. Several mental health benefits are associated with exercise, like relieving anxiety or improving your mood.

00:32:10:15 - 00:32:19:18
Madison
Exercise can also boost your confidence and release endorphins. You don't have to jump straight into heavy lifting. Any exercise can help.

00:32:19:20 - 00:32:40:22
Joseph
Going outside and soaking up some sun, sunlight boosts serotonin in the brain, which can improve your mood. When you don't get enough sun. Your serotonin levels drop. Leading to seasonal affective disorder. Just be sure to be mindful of the conditions. Careful in the heat like it is now and make sure you wear sunscreen as appropriate.

00:32:40:24 - 00:33:07:05
Madison
You should also prioritize your sleep. We've previously talked about the importance of sleep in episode 95 of the podcast. Poor sleep is linked to a greater risk of anxiety, depression, poor mood and higher stress levels. Hide your sleep by sticking to your bedroom, but no bedtime routine. Take getting. Get ready for bed by doing something relaxing in the same bedtime each night and turn off your screens.

00:33:07:07 - 00:33:13:08
Madison
There's there are a number of sleep tracking apps available to help you prioritize your sleep as well.

00:33:13:10 - 00:33:14:20
Joseph
Back to those apps again.

00:33:14:26 - 00:33:15:23
Madison
Yep.

00:33:15:26 - 00:33:40:11
Joseph
Take a step back from social media. In episode 25 of the podcast, we discussed the dangers and pitfalls of social media content. Social media use can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. A digital detox may be warranted if you compare yourself to others online or notice a dip in your mental health. Start by limiting your time on social media.

00:33:40:14 - 00:33:46:13
Joseph
Then try to fill that time with things you enjoy or people you like spending time with.

00:33:46:15 - 00:34:11:21
Madison
So when should you be seeing a therapist? Self-Directed therapy and well being tactics are extremely useful, but they're not the be all and end all in mental health. Face time with a licensed therapist is essential for those with severe conditions and symptoms. The first thing you or your parents should do is to check your insurance. Employer provided insurance and Medicare.

00:34:11:23 - 00:34:28:09
Madison
Medicaid. Medicaid may cover screenings, psychotherapy, and counseling. Your insurance coverage will depend on your state and your health plan. But many plans include mental health coverage for in-network therapists.

00:34:28:12 - 00:34:50:24
Joseph
Your finances shouldn't stop you from getting the help you need. It may take some research into therapies and programs, but there are low cost options. Sliding scale payments are one of those. Some therapists often offer a sliding scale. You pay what you can afford. The cost will be based on your income. Not all therapists offer this, but many do.

00:34:50:27 - 00:35:21:19
Madison
For those of also low cost or free services, some therapists offer low cost or free counseling for individuals. Four Interviewed for individual and group sessions. If you live near a college or university, the graduate department may offer free or discounted therapy sessions. There's also community health centers and community health centers assist those and surrounding areas. And then there's local and online support groups, local organizations and volunteers.

00:35:21:19 - 00:35:39:13
Madison
In many areas offer support groups for things like grief and addiction, youth mental health. America's list of support groups to find one of the one that best fits your needs, you can participate in a peer led support group through the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

00:35:39:16 - 00:36:07:06
Joseph
There's a lot of podcasts out there as well. You know, we kind of try to help people out as much as we can. We're more team focused, and most of what we present is material that we've gone out and done the research on. That's inspired by specific incidents or specific things that we feel want to talk about, or sometimes it's suggestions that we get from other people.

00:36:07:08 - 00:36:39:20
Joseph
But there are a lot of other podcasts out there that are run by professionals that are absolutely worth watching and researching. If you can't find support anywhere else but just a friendly reminder, the information that we discuss on this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. We are not health professionals and far from it, unless it's the health of a computer.

00:36:39:20 - 00:36:41:10
Joseph
Actually, I'm pretty good with that one.

00:36:41:12 - 00:36:42:13
Madison
Yeah.

00:36:42:16 - 00:37:11:00
Joseph
Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. So now with the medical disclaimer out there so we can't be sued here. What do you think kids your age in schools now? What do you think is the common thing that they may turn to for any kind of mental health issues that they have?

00:37:11:03 - 00:37:16:04
Joseph
Are they seeking professional help? Or are they finding other coping mechanisms?

00:37:16:06 - 00:37:44:12
Madison
Well, I know some teens my age are probably ex are probably looking out to get therapy. Obviously, those that can afford it. However, I know that not everybody can, and thus I don't. And I don't think that most teens, unless they have a hefty allowance from the parents or the parents, are paying for it, would be able to really, you know, pay for therapy on their own.

00:37:44:12 - 00:38:08:20
Madison
So they probably won't likely have to look out for other sources outside of getting, you know, professional help. And, you know, the whole like self help kind of stuff is probably what most of us are using at this point. We kind of like find stuff we enjoy, take time for ourselves and things of that nature, really.

00:38:08:22 - 00:38:33:01
Joseph
And I know your your counselors at school have been very helpful with a number of different things that you've run into. How much help or service can someone expect from their local schools? Is your school special in that or is it pretty typical? And, you know, I don't I've never heard of other schools having the type of group sessions that your school had.

00:38:33:03 - 00:38:44:01
Joseph
Is that something that you feel we can recommend to teens to to turn to school, to maybe even get advice or something like that on where to turn? You think that's a worthwhile endeavor?

00:38:44:03 - 00:39:07:20
Madison
I mean, it can be when your school offers it unfortunately with the current climate and so forth. I don't know how many schools actually offer that. And again, like you said, the group sessions is kind of the thing that you've only ever really heard from my school. I think it's something that's kind of more recent, honestly. And while I do think it could, it's something that can help.

00:39:07:23 - 00:39:17:07
Madison
I know a lot of people like the counselors. They they do have possibly don't even help or they don't even really have any good counselors to begin with.

00:39:17:08 - 00:39:40:05
Joseph
So do you think the support that you're seeing now from all these different venues, like, you know, we talked about your school having recently adopted some of these things, Is that a result of maybe the after effects of COVID, or do you think it might be other things, other factors that are kind of driving the the need for having that kind of support in schools?

00:39:40:07 - 00:40:02:17
Madison
I think the idea of how like mental health is becoming a much more like talked about topic is also like it had a huge effect on it in the ways that schools actually kind of trying to be more concerned about it. While I'd say that they should be more concerned about that than most schools are, it's still at least something that's been brought up by my school, thankfully.

00:40:02:17 - 00:40:19:13
Madison
And it's been something that there are they're like not trying to treat it as a problem and instead just trying to find ways to help the kids that they can. Obviously, they could be doing a lot of more work when it comes to that. But honestly, I'll take what I can get at this point.

00:40:19:15 - 00:40:28:00
Joseph
Do you think it's the school's responsibility to provide that level of support and counseling, or do you think it's kind of a nice to have?

00:40:28:02 - 00:40:51:18
Madison
I guess it's more of a nice to have. But, you know, I think it's one of those things that like some kids just don't really know how to deal with that kind of stuff, especially in the teenage years. When I ended up going through sixth grade, I was experiencing all these hormonal changes to the point where I thought every day was the worst day ever and I didn't know how to really be dealing with it.

00:40:51:18 - 00:41:16:11
Madison
I came home crying almost every single day because like I was just feeling terrible. I had no idea how to cope with it. I had no idea to control my, you know, emotions that I had. And it was just like a huge change in my mood that like I didn't get over for a while. And I think the only reason I really did was when we started this podcast, because like I said before, this has acted as pretty much my therapy for now.

00:41:16:11 - 00:41:49:02
Madison
And at this point, like I don't even know how many parents are willing to talk to their kids about you know, mental health and so forth. And I think it's something important that does need to at least be mentioned to kids because it is something that a lot of them could experience. And while it shouldn't technically be the school's responsibility to have to, you know, bring it up, I feel it's important that at some point something does bring it up to the kid.

00:41:49:05 - 00:42:17:28
Joseph
I agree 100%. I'm glad your school is kind of going down that route because you know, as much as mommy and I try to try to be there and fill the fill in the gaps and guide you on your way, there are some things that we're just not qualified to kind of engage with and talk about. And short of going to a professional therapist, having a counselor at school who's qualified one and willing to help too, I think it's fantastic.

00:42:18:02 - 00:42:34:18
Madison
You know, and I think the one issue that a lot of parents might have with it, well, therapy in general, it might have been one of the stigmas we talked about before is the fear that, oh, my kid's going to somebody else and talking about things that they're not mentioning to me. I don't know why they don't trust me or something.

00:42:34:20 - 00:42:56:09
Madison
And the reality is that there's some things that a kid can't really talk to their parents about because they don't feel comfortable with that. Sure, there have been things that I've talked only you about and not to mommy, because you guys would be handling it, handling it differently. There have been things I've talked to Mommy about that I don't really mention to you, because, you know, you handle it differently.

00:42:56:16 - 00:43:16:24
Madison
And there are things that I have never mentioned to you guys that I can only really mention to my counselor, because I just feel uncomfortable. Bring it in, bringing it up to you guys. And it shouldn't be this idea that therapy is against the parent. It's not at all against the parent. It's just a way for the kid to find the outlet that they need.

00:43:16:24 - 00:43:33:00
Madison
Because let's face it, a parent isn't going to be everything to a kid. Like sometimes a kid needs an outside source to be open because they either don't feel safe around their parents or don't feel their parents would be handling it well.

00:43:33:06 - 00:43:58:09
Joseph
Yeah, and I think that's a that's a great point. You know, as long as you're talking about as long as you're willing to talk to somebody about it, I think that's the important thing. I know there are things that I am wholly unqualified to deal with when it comes to your emotional and mental well-being. And I am probably the last person who you should be talking to about those things because it's like the blind leading the blind.

00:43:58:11 - 00:44:06:04
Joseph
I would much rather you talk to somebody who either can relate to it or provide you the guidance that you need to make the right decisions.

00:44:06:07 - 00:44:31:29
Madison
Yeah, and I've mentioned this idea, I think on the podcast and to you before, is that you're the type of person that if you're given a problem, you want to find the solution to and in certain instances that's very helpful. But in the situation where I just need to kind of let it out instead of finding a solution to the problem, you're not really the person I'd want to go to for it because I don't want to be offered a solution to the problem.

00:44:31:29 - 00:44:33:23
Madison
I just need to let it out.

00:44:33:28 - 00:44:52:15
Joseph
Right. And in that situation, I will end up getting frustrated. I don't know what I can do at that point in time, and I feel useless. It winds up being a detriment to both of us in that case, you know? So, you know, I'll never discourage you from going to talk to somebody else if it's something that you find helpful.

00:44:52:17 - 00:45:05:05
Joseph
And that's the important thing. You know, where Mommy and I are here to help you. We help you any way we can. Sometimes helping you is about not helping you yet. As long as you've found someone that you can have that discussion with, that's the most important thing in my mind.

00:45:05:12 - 00:45:06:20
Madison
Yep.

00:45:06:22 - 00:45:13:07
Joseph
So anyway, I think that was it for our topic. We're going to take our last quick break. Come back, get your closing thoughts and finish things up.

00:45:13:09 - 00:45:13:19
Madison
All right.

00:45:13:23 - 00:45:20:24
Joseph
We'll be right back.

00:45:20:26 - 00:45:58:24
Madison
All right. So to everybody out there, I just wanted to say that it's important to take care of your mental health as long as you're doing it in some sort of healthy way. While I'm a huge advocate for therapy and for people to get therapy when they can, it's not always the most viable option. And despite the fact that we kind of end a lot of podcast off with kind of offering for people who need it to, you know, get therapy to help them, that's not always, you know, a solution for a lot of people and it's something that's more difficult to come by.

00:45:58:26 - 00:46:17:01
Madison
So I hope that this kind of offered, you know, some more viable solutions for people who aren't able to, you know, find therapy, because I do believe that everybody deserves to have some sort of mental help when it comes to their mental well-being.

00:46:17:03 - 00:46:21:18
Joseph
Sage words, as always, you are wise beyond your years.

00:46:21:18 - 00:46:22:19
Madison
Thank you.

00:46:22:22 - 00:46:48:08
Joseph
I think that is it for today. Before we do going, you know, once again, remind folks to subscribe to the podcast. You can find us audio versions of this podcast listed as insights in the teens. You can find audio and video of all the network's podcasts listed as insights into things. And you can find us on Pandora, Castro, Stitcher Pod being pretty much anywhere you can get a podcast these days.

00:46:48:10 - 00:47:10:23
Joseph
We'd also encourage you to write in, give us your feedback, tell us how we're doing, give us your suggestions. If you have ideas on the show that can help folks out, we'd love to pass them on. You can email us at comments and insights into things Dot. You can find us on Twitter at Insights underscore things. We do stream five days a week on YouTube and Twitch.

00:47:10:24 - 00:47:40:05
Joseph
If you are a prime subscriber, an Amazon Prime subscriber, you do get a free monthly Twitch prime subscription. We really appreciated through that our way. You can find us on Instagram at Instagram dot com slash insights into things or Facebook at Facebook dot com slash insights into things podcast or links to all that and more on our official website W WW and insights into things dot com and you.

00:47:40:07 - 00:47:55:15
Madison
And don't forget to check out our other two podcast insight and entertainment hosted by young mommy which we're planning to bring out a new one soon and then so to know tomorrow are not really monthly podcast anymore hosted by my brother Sam that you guys are hopefully going to do one in a week or so.

00:47:55:15 - 00:48:03:01
Joseph
If we do it next week, it'll be three months in a row we did them, so we're getting back on schedule. Anyway, that's it, folks. Another one on the books.

00:48:03:04 - 00:48:03:28
Madison
By everyone.

00:48:03:28 - 00:48:04:15
Joseph
By.


(Cont.) Insights Into Teens: Episode 174 “Ways to Improve Mental Health Without Therapy”