Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day can help ease the stigma of mental health conditions for those around you.

While some celebratory days are more tongue-in-cheek or designed to be silly, others are meant to bring awareness to critical issues. National Psychotherapy Day helps to continue placing a spotlight on the importance of mental health awareness.

National Psychotherapy Day takes place on September 25. Founded in 2012, the day was created by a group of students and professionals that wanted to bring more awareness to the importance of mental health.

What color should you wear for national psychotherapy day?

The official color of support for National Psychotherapy Day is turquoise. This is because the official logo for the day is a turquoise counseling chair or couch.

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The primary goal of National Psychotherapy Day is to bring awareness to the importance of mental health support and to help remove the stigma that often keeps many people from getting the help they need.

Educating others on why mental health services can be beneficial is one of the best things people can do to normalize the idea of seeking help when they need it.

Some great ways to share the importance of psychotherapy can include:

  • donating your time or money to free or low cost counseling centers
  • fighting the stigma around getting help by supporting their treatment journey
  • sharing the story of how therapy has helped you

If you had a broken arm, you probably wouldn’t pretend that nothing was wrong. In most cases, you’d head to an emergency room or at least give your doctor a call to figure out what to do. Likewise, friends and family would want you to get the best help you could as quickly as possible.

But somehow, when the “injury” is to our mental state, the tables turn and people often face judgment or condemnation. In many cases, unless you have an “obvious” diagnosed mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, society at large isn’t always supportive of seeking help to manage or better understand your emotions.

Instead, people can find themselves accused of being weak, soft, or attention-seeking. While this backlash happens on a macro scale across society, it can be magnified for some groups such as ethnic minorities and communities of color.

As research into mental health progresses, experts now understand that other factors such as generational trauma, and even shared stress based on interactions or biases from society toward racial and ethnic communities can also contribute to mental health distress. But stigmas can still prevent many people from getting the help they need.

For someone with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, not seeking help can be dangerous and even life threatening depending on the severity of their condition. But even for people that don’t have a mental illness, feeling overwhelmed by emotions with no reliable outlet can be damaging.

Symptoms such as withdrawal from society, a loss of interest in previous hobbies, and even feelings of hopelessness are all side effects of unaddressed mental health needs.

However, considering that poor mental health can manifest as physical ailments, there’s a solid case to be made that taking care of your mental health is just as important — if not more — than heading to your doctor for an annual physical or vaccine update.

How psychotherapy helps

In a perfect world, any time a problem arose, you could sit down with a friend or family member and share your feelings without fear of reproach, judgment, or unsolicited opinions. But the reality can be far different.

Whether you know that your social circle might not be understanding or you’re simply not interested in hearing a running commentary of what someone else would have done in your shoes, psychotherapy is a constructive outlet to help people learn how to better manage their emotions, reframe their mindset, or simply access a judgment-free listening ear.

Put simply, psychotherapy is talk therapy. During sessions, your therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to:

  • help you identify stressors or triggers
  • show you new ways to manage emotions or redirect patterns of behavior
  • teach you how to reframe your perspective and focus on controllable aspects
  • work with you to better understand why repetitive negative thoughts dominate your mind
  • help you to find joy in everyday life and cultivate happiness
  • discover the true source of intrusive or obsessive thoughts
  • develop the tools to break unhealthy patterns
  • teach you ways to deepen your friendships and strengthen your support network

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual therapy has been normalized — with many people opting for teletherapy or video calls over the traditional in-office model.

However, accessibility isn’t just about being able to physically or virtually connect with a therapist, it also includes affordability and diversity. This is another key tenet of National Psychotherapy Day.

Not only do people need to know that there’s no shame in seeking help, but that it’s also possible to find affordable care as well as source licensed therapists who look like them. Educating society on how to find low cost therapy or confirm if a therapist is covered by insurance is also critical.

Mental health is just as important as your physical health and research continues to prove that the two are linked.

Whether you’re struggling to process a major traumatic event, live with a mental illness, or simply want to learn how to cope with general stress or anxiety, psychotherapy could be the solution. However, society needs to understand that seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness — and that’s why National Psychotherapy Day is important.

How to find the best therapist for you.