Disclaimer – The following post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or sickness. Please use caution if any parts apply to your specific situation and contact a health care professional for further advice. The following thoughts and opinions were expressed by the interviewee and are his and his alone.
Welcome back for another very special blog treat, a Dude with POTS interview. This week’s post is important to me and a lot of the readers out there. Please welcome my good friend and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate, Cole Evers.
COLE EVERS, M.S., LMHCA, NCC.
Thanks for doing this interview man. You have always been the best listener of any person I have ever met. I wanted to flip the script and give you a chance to talk. Today we are talking about a very important issue, Mental Health Awareness. This is a topic that is near to my heart. I got some questions for you and hopefully we can provide the readers with some knowledge AND some entertainment.
Tell me what you got your degree in and why you felt motivated to go down that path?
“Well first off, I wanted to thank you for allowing me to be part of your blog. I have been an AVID reader since day one and have been patiently waiting for that phone call. Anyways, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and then continued on to get my Master of Science in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Mental Health Counseling (this is just a super long name meaning that I am a mental health counselor, therapist or clinician, we go by many titles.) I have always wanted to work in the helping profession. I skipped out on psychology in high school because I was hoping for an easy 4.0, so I took weights instead. I then thought I could be a physical therapist until I realized I was horrible at chemistry and physics. Eventually I ended up taking a psychology class and really started to enjoy what I was learning. From there on I knew counseling was an option and started making moves to start my professional life.”
How would you describe the current state of the medical system as it pertains to mental health? Obviously there is room for improvement or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
“Honestly, I am pretty new to the world of managed care and don’t have a whole lot of experience with insurance or billing. I do know that in the last 10 years the amount of people seeking mental health services has skyrocketed. It has been nice to see insurance companies adding mental health services in their coverages but the issue is they will often limit the amount of session they will pay for. Although a lot can happen in 8-12 sessions, there are a lot of people who may need more time and they then have to pay out of pocket.”
What are some common misconceptions about mental health that you wish more people were aware of?
“One thing I hear the most is that “I’m not crazy.” There is that misconception that there has to be something extremely wrong with you to see a counselor. The issue is there is still a stigma behind seeing a therapist, but I believe that stigma is slowly lifting. There is also a common mistake in and around the differences between a mental health counselor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. I don’t know how many times I get called a psychologist or psychiatrist. These are all very different degrees and schools of thought.”
Do believe there is a connection between mental health and physical health?
“YES. I mean there is tons of research behind chronic stress and how that can impact the body. Anxiety often can show up with somatic symptoms such as stomach aches, increased heart rate and etc. I read a quote once that kind of speaks to this “When the mind suffers, the body cries out.” Which after googling that, I guess it is also the title of a song.”
What should a person do if they think one of their friends may be depressed or suffering from anxiety?
“I think people get afraid of asking questions in regards to mental health. Sometimes just asking a person if they are okay and reminding them that you are there for support can be a big help. Sharing your own struggles with that person can help them realize they are not alone can be a strategy as well. And you can always introduce the idea of seeking professional help.”
Men are stereotyped as being “rough and tough” and not having emotions. Thoughts?
“Yeah I have thoughts about this. I have seen this play out in a lot of different ways. The most obvious is that most of the time men will not seek services because of this stereotype. As a male therapist I try and use my own personal experience to help reduce that stereotype.”
I texted you the other day about Jarrid Wilson, a mega church pastor in Southern California who committed suicide. He was known for his mental health advocacy. You told me, “sometimes those who are so passionate need the most help”. I thought about that for a while. What can we do about that?
“This is a hard question to answer because it is so hard to see the pain that happy people may be experiencing. I would just say that no matter how someone acts externally, we are not sure what may be going on internally. Just ask and be available for support. Again, we all cope in our own way.”
You are a professional councilor. Would ever consider getting counseling yourself?
“Oh for sure. My graduate program heavily suggested we all receive services. We all have our own struggles and concerns that we want to work through, so that we can support others in their own journey. This also allows you to connect with you client’s in a different way. If they know you have received your own counseling it can let them know that even therapists are not perfect ;)”
Give me one random story or fact you want to share with the readers about mental health awareness.
“Here is an article about mental health and POTS.”
Bonus Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how important has your friendship with me been for your overall mental health?
“10 for sure… you would be surprised how a strong social support can reduce individuals experience with mental health. Isolation can be a catalyst for many potential negative things. All anecdotal obviously.”
Thanks for reading! Please contact me for any specific topics, questions you want answered, or reviews you want!
Jarod Gunning – Dude with POTS