Deep Bench: Therapy, medication or both? Choosing the best treatment for you

WAUSAU, Wis. (WZAW) -- One of the biggest and most important decisions you can make for yourself if you are diagnosed with a mental illness, is getting help.

But how do you know which treatment option is best for you?

Lee Shipway, a licensed clinical social worker and the executive director for Peaceful Solutions Counseling in Wausau joined the Deep Bench on Thursday.

She said making the decision to get help for a mental illness doesn't always come easily for everyone.

"But the message I would like people to know is that it doesn't have to be as scary as you think it's going to be. It's no different if you have a physical illness," Shipway explained. "If you have a mental illness, you need a professional to help you through that."

Some coping mechanisms a therapist might teach you are deep breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness.

"That's what therapy is all about. It's skill-building," Shipway added.

Typically, treatment will usually start with mental health therapy first. If that doesn't work, a doctor or psychiatrist may recommend medication.

Shipway advises people living with a mental disorder to seek out a medical professional or their primary physician to talk about what kind of medication might be right for them.

"We sometimes often work in tandum with those physicians. We get a release of information signed, so that we can talk to the physician and the physician can talk to us. We share treatment plans," Lee said.