Mental Health Q and A – one-on-one with Amanda Hathcock, LLPC, NCC

Amanda Hathcock

Amanda Hathcock joined the team at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) in 2018.

Hathcock’s philosophy of care
I believe that each of us has the ability and responsibility to take the reins of our own life and find happiness (which positively influences those around us). If you feel like you have fumbled the reins, dropped the reins or that life is running away with you despite your white knuckled grip on the reins, then I am here to help. Using evidence-based therapy models, I will be respectful of your feelings and your situation and help you find your personal path to success.

Below, she shares her perspective as a mental health counselor.

Q: Why did you decide to become a counselor?

A: I gravitated towards psychological science in undergrad and human service is important to me.  I started my counseling education because it seemed like the logical intersect of those two subjects, and now it feels natural and special for me personally. 

Q: What do you think has the most impact on mental health – both positively and negatively?

A: Self-respect. It can get you through the hard times, lack of self-respect makes the hard times even harder.

Q: Would you recommend drugs or therapy or both for an individual who believes they are in need of mental health assistance? Why?

A: Research overwhelmingly supports both medication and therapy as the gold standard treatment for mental health assistance.  If you are not in crisis, and are just beginning treatment, then I generally recommend starting with counseling/therapy first since there can be lifestyle alterations that can make as big an impact as medication.

Q: What do you recommend to try and help deescalate a panic/anxiety attack?

A: Grounding. During a panic/anxiety attack we can’t trust our automatic thought processing because it is prone to stimulus overload and catastrophizing. Practiced, simple, factual thoughts or affirmations are grounding. The five senses exercise is a good one. “My feet are on the ground” is another example, as long as your feet are actually on the ground!

Q: At what point should I seek professional help?

A:  It’s never too early to seek professional guidance or assessment. Definitely if you are having hopeless and/or helpless thoughts and feelings then you should seek professional help promptly.  

Q: What should I do if I’m worried about a friend or relative?

A: Talk to them about it. Use I statements like “I’ve noticed you seem sad lately,” “I would like to take a minute to make sure you’re okay,” “I want to be a person you can ask for help,” etc. This naturally makes our language less labeling and offensive and creates an opportunity for dialogue.  

Q: How do mental health issues affect physical health?

A: Our minds and bodies naturally want to be healthy; if we are mentally stressed then our body will allocate and reallocate resources to try and relieve the stress, and this can look like a shortage of physical health resources. Our body also has to release stress at some point, which often takes the form of a physical health concern. 

Q: How can individuals work to fight the stigma associated with mental health? 

A: In addition to supporting local and national initiatives and advocating visibly, I think encouraging others (and ourselves) to follow through when they express interest in self-improvement or seeking some form of treatment is meaningful. Innocently, encouragement like “you’ve got this” or “everything will turn out fine” doesn’t support actually seeking help. “That’s an option, let me know how I can help with that,” or “I’d like to make [insert lifestyle change] too, let’s share with each other,” supports taking an action and making a change. 

Q: What are some things to share with kids regarding mental health issues of a parent or close relative?

A: Their only responsibility is compassion. It is not their responsibility to fix anything. Outline a process.  This is what present reality it, here is a short-term expectation, here is a longer-term expectation.  

Hathcock is available at the CHL to see benefits-eligible employees and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan. Her services support the behavioral health pillar of the Healthy Boiler Program. To schedule, call 765-494-0111 or utilize the Center for Healthy Living portal.