TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Taking the step of reaching out for help is a big one, but it comes with its own obstacles. Wait times to find the right provider can compound your stress, but local resources are available for East Texans facing mental health challenges.

“I’ve noticed that some of the good programs out there have like three or four or five-month waiting lists,” said Stanley Popovich, author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear.”

Extensive waiting lists can leave some people feeling alone. Popovich had to learn to manage his anxieties and stresses while finding the right resources for him.

“It becomes frustrating because you need help right away and they’re telling you, ‘Well, we can’t do anything for you until like four or five months from down the road’ and that doesn’t help you,” said Popovich.

Struggling with anxiety himself and due to the shortage of care available, Popovich tried to put together a manual for those suffering. He took to writing a book called, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear,” teaching others techniques to handle those times of stress.

“The most common tip is taking a deep breath and taking a break, maybe like a five to 10-minute break, and just take some deep breaths and try to regain your bearings in the situation. Do not try to predict the future, because a lot of times you may feel like something may happen, and the result is your anxieties.”

Stanley Popovich

Here at home, The Mosaic Counseling Center of East Texas is available to those in need, offering affordable counseling and resources for all ages.

“There are also organizations that specialize you know, if someone, for example, is leaving a domestic violence situation and is in need of counseling and there are some free counseling resources, like at the East Texas Crisis Center. The Andrews Center has a number of free resources,” said Brittany Gayetsky, Director of Clinical Operations and Therapist at the Mosaic Counseling Center of East Texas.

While you wait for care, Mental Health America recommends the following tips for resiliency:

  • Connect with others
  • Stay positive
  • Get physically active
  • Help others
  • Get enough sleep
  • Create joy and satisfaction
  • Eat well
  • Take care of your spirit
  • Deal better with hard times
  • Seek professional help if you need it

In the meantime, quick resources can assist. If you need immediate help in the event of a crisis, you can reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

“Counseling can be a place of exploration. It can be a place of healing, and we just really feel privileged that we get to walk around alongside our clients,” said Gayetsky.

Your employer also may have Employee Assistance Programs available for you to help manage challenges you may be facing.

If you or someone you know is having trouble with feeling anxiety and/or depression, it’s recommended to begin speaking with your healthcare provider.

This is part five of a five-part special report on the subject of mental health. Use the links below to catch up on the series: