When the “I” is replaced with a “We”, illness becomes wellness.


In many cultures, mental health issues continue to suffer much stigmatization and as a result, a huge number of individuals in these environments are simply unable to reach out, find healing and aspire for growth. In America, the mental health field has been receiving much deserved and increasing attention from government sources, individual philanthropist causes, and general support from a growing number of Americans. As a result, this field has been expanding its capacity to address mental health issues in individuals with specific needs and in communities at large. This is thanks, in large part, to continuing efforts by mental health professionals, federal and state representatives, and concerned citizens to destigmatize mental health issues.

When something is destigmatized, a wonderful thing occurs. A ripple effect begins. First, it’s talked about and people who suffer from mental health issues are able to finally find a safe space for their struggles, a home where healing can start. Second, when the community shows a demand, then—in the simplest terms—municipalities and government organizations begin to take note and are moved to create the “supply.” Slowly, a shift occurs, where individuals from all walks of life and love find out that they can be heard, their stories can be told, their hearts can be mended and their minds can be free to feel and think anew. Subsequently, more and more people begin to reach out, and so the cycle begins again.

WILA is a place that aims to join in this ripple effect. WILA provides 8,000 hours of therapy to the Los Angeles community each year, helping the individuals, couples, and families that we serve lead richer and more fulfilling lives. WILA is also dedicated to the destigmatization of mental health issues and the creation of a community where transparency and direct help are a priority.

Since it takes one to know one, the team at WILA would like to use this opportunity to give a shout out to an organization that it recognizes in its mission the same important vision that WILA holds — to help create a culture where mental health is addressed on both social and individual levels and where emotional suffering can be identified and safely approached.

This organization — the Campaign to Change Direction — “is a coalition of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change the culture in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. By bringing together this unprecedented and diverse group of leaders we plan to spark a movement that: frees us to see our mental health as having equal value to our physical health creates a common language that allows us to recognize the signs of emotional suffering in ourselves and others encourages us to care for our mental well-being and the mental well-being of others.” (http://www.changedirection.org)

The Campaign to Change Direction is promoting the know-the-five-signs movement, dedicated to raising awareness for mental health concerns through instructing individuals to look for the “five signs” of change in someone’s mental health as an indication that he or she needs help.

Here are the Five Signs that mean someone might be in emotional pain and in need of help:

  • Personality change:

If you notice that a good friend is acting out of character— he usually talks about his kids in vivid colors, but all of a sudden acts as if he doesn’t have children to talk about, consider that something may be going on.

  • Agitated:

If you notice that your loved one had become more irritable and moody, consider that something may be going on.

  • Withdrawal:

If your neighbor who usually chats with you when you take out the bins has been reserved and only murmurs a quick “hi” before hurrying back to her home, consider that something may be going on.

  • Poor Self-Care:

If your partner had been slowly quitting her morning shower-and-make-up routine or is no longer going to her bi-weekly running group, consider that something may be going on.

  • Hopelessness:

If a co-worker expresses to you off-handedly some feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, saying things like “what’s the point?” in regards to any activity or endeavor your team suggests or when talking about your plans for the summer, consider that something may be going on.

So what can we do?

We can keep these five signs in mind and do our best to recognize them when someone in our surrounding exhibits them. The Change Direction campaign offers you make a pledge to know the five signs as a way to commit to their goal and vision. You can make your pledge here: http://www.changedirection.org/make-a-pledge/

Please join WILA and Change Direction in raising awareness in our communities for mental health matters and in creating a safe environment for anyone who is burdened with a mental health challenge.

If you recognize yourself or a loved one in these five signs, please do not hesitate to contact us at (424) 371-5191 to make an intake appointment with one of the therapists on our team.

The WILA blog is brought to you by the heart and expert wordsmithing of our Blog Countess, Eva Patrick, PsyD. “My passion for blogging is tied to my appetite for practicing psychotherapy  – they both allow me to surrender to the uncertainty of life, and to find my way out through words, stories and the discovery of new ideas for doing, being and telling these stories in the world.”