By Jess Chua
Are u ok? by Kati Morton, LMFT, certainly accomplishes the author’s mission to lift the stigma around mental health.
This is one of the (many) books I had on my coronavirus quarantine reading list. May also happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month.
While we all know that we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, I have to say that I loved the simple, contemporary and friendly design of this cover!
The color scheme doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the doldrums, and the subtitles in the speech bubbles tell you what to expect.
Check out our mental health podcast at Optimal Living Advice.
A Little Bit about Kati Morton
Kati Morton is a licensed therapist and YouTuber who creates mental health videos on her channel. Her channel has been described as for anyone “scared or embarrassed by therapy.”
Kati’s book gives the reader an excellent introduction to some of the most common questions and topics about mental health.
If you’re already very familiar and seasoned with mental health issues, or are looking for more in-depth information on interacting with clients, a more academic type of publication would probably have more of the content you’re seeking.
Introduction to Mental Health
So, what can you expect to get as a solid introduction to mental health?
No longer will you be clueless about what actually happens in therapy or counts as a mental health issue. This is especially helpful if you’re scared or on the fence about seeking professional help. Kati’s compassionate and non-patronizing tone will encourage you to pay attention to and prioritize your mental wellness.
Mental Health vs. Mental Illness
In the opening chapter, Kati starts off by defining what mental health is and why it’s not synonymous with the term ‘mental illness.’
You’ll learn how anxiety is the most “common mental illness in the U.S.” that affects 18% of the adult population. That’s 1 in 5 people, with the worldwide population reflecting a similar percentage.
In the next chapter, Kati shares one of her mottos: “It’s a process, not perfection.”
This approach helps remind you that the recovery process is not achieved overnight, but it’s possible to attain when we keep doing our best to recover and heal from bad experiences.
Through a short checklist at the end of this chapter, Kati reminds us that change is a good thing, and to take note of the subtle things like what we say to ourselves on a daily basis. It is these things which build our sense of self, so it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to guess what the result is to your mental health if you repeat only degrading and negative things to yourself.
Mental Health Videos
With 930K plus subscribers, Kati Morton regularly connects with the public through educating the masses on mental health topics.
Here are a couple of Kati’s videos to give you a better sense of her style and personality. The following video by Kati is an important one, with 1 million plus views:
Here’s another video, and this one's on “childhood emotional neglect.”
If you feel like your feelings have been dismissed for a long time, this video should be of interest to you:
Some of these signs are subtle, so it’s important to know what to look out for before it takes a heavier toll on your mental health.
Good Therapists vs. Bad Therapists
Kati shares valuable insights on finding the right therapist and what to do if you happen to have problems with your therapist. She gives advice on what to do if you start feeling too attached to your therapist (because you end up feeling so safe and comfortable during therapy) OR start to feel like you’re attracted to your therapist (in what is known as “erotic transference” in the psychology field).
It’s helpful to know what types of qualities a good therapist should have…and, likewise, how to know if you’re seeing a bad one.
For example, a bad therapist talks about themselves too much and doesn’t listen well (they’re unable to or not bothered that they can’t recall things you’ve told them multiple times). In contrast, a good therapist understands the value of clear communication and helps you to express yourself better. The indicators in these chapters will help you get the most out of therapy should you choose to seek professional help.
Toxic Relationships vs. Healthy Relationships
I greatly enjoyed the section on toxic relationships in Are u ok?
A clear divider would have been nice for a clearer separation between the book sections (e.g. Part 1 and Part 2), as the change in subject from chapters on therapy/therapists to relationship related content was a bit unexpected.
That being said, the chapter following toxic relationships adds a hopeful and inspiring touch. It discusses how healthy relationships are the key to a happy life. The checklist at the end of the chapter on toxic relationships makes it very easy for you to evaluate your own relationship, and if you should consider ending your relationship for the sake of your sanity and growth.
Each reader will have their own takeaways from this book.
Here are two key takeaways that I’ve taken from Are u ok?:
- Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s not something to be ignored or put off because you think “it’s not that bad.” Your feelings are valid. Don’t let others tell you that your symptoms are “not severe enough” or that you’re just making things up in your head — these things shouldn’t keep you from seeking professional help if you feel like you need it. You don’t want to bottle things up for decades before realizing that speaking up earlier could have gotten you on track much faster, and with less emotional baggage.
- The recovery process is a journey and nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes, we can be very harsh and judgmental on ourselves. We learn things in hindsight and when we’re able to gain new or different perspectives. If we had this knowledge from the beginning, maybe we wouldn’t have made the mistakes that we did. At the same time, it’s often through these difficult experiences that we stand to grow from the most. Reaching out for help regarding your mental health is not a sign of weakness or failure.
All in all, Are u ok? sheds the stigma of mental illness through creating an open discussion on mental health, through being an introductory “guide to caring for your mental health.”
Buy the Book on Amazon: Are u ok?
Check out our mental health podcast at Optimal Living Advice.