According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 American adults experiences mental illness every year; and approximately 1 in 25 experiences a serious mental illness that significantly alters their life.

Furthermore, 16 million American adults live with major depression, 42 million with anxiety, 2.4 million with schizophrenia, 6.1 million with bipolar disorder. And finally, every single one of us suffers some way, somehow, and has to work at our mental health.

People are still warming up to the subject of mental health. But the question isn’t whether or not it exists—it’s whether or not you’re doing what you can to maintain and improve it. This might mean exercising a few times a week, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep each night; but it might also mean talking to a therapist or counselor and identifying harmful as well as healthy behaviors. The following five people have found therapy to be incredibly beneficial to their mental health and are here to share just how it’s changed them for the better:

1) “The biggest takeaway would have to be allowing love to enter my life.”

“I’ve been through two rounds of therapy. Each round took about six months to complete. I last went to therapy about five years ago. I’m a huge fan of it and highly recommend it to anyone going through a rough patch,” says Josh Bladh. “For me, the biggest takeaway/lesson would have to be allowing love to enter my life. I’m married and have four children, and I first went to therapy when my wife was pregnant with our third child. What I didn’t realize was that my whole life, I didn’t allow love to enter my life and become a part of who I was. I loved my family and friends, but I had a wall put up to prohibit anyone from loving me.”

2) “Self-discovery isn’t only for the young.”

Lily Iona MacKenzie, author of “Curva Peligrosa, Fling!” is a big proponent of therapy and says it’s helped her through much of her life: “As a 77-year-old, who returned to Jungian analysis five years ago, I can affirm that self-discovery isn’t only for the young. These past few years have demonstrated that as long as we’re alive, we’re changing. And if we’re changing, there is always a role for continuing self-knowledge. It’s not something you ‘get’ from going into therapy for a limited amount of time. It’s ongoing!”

3) “I needed someone to show me how to get out of my own way.”

“The most eye-opening lesson I’ve learned in therapy is that a counselor or therapist isn’t there to make decisions for you, but instead to empower you and guide you through the decision-making progress,” Parker Horveath, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Ambrosia Treatment Center, explains. “When I came to therapy, I thought I had all the answers. I was wrong. I was depressed and could barely function as a human being. My counselor showed me that my decision-making skills were compromised, but more importantly, he showed me how to make better life choices and stick to them. With some help, I was able to make serious progress in my life for the first time. It turns out that while I didn’t know everything, I did have the capacity to make positive decisions that better my life. In a way, I did have the answers, but I needed someone to show me how to get out of my own way.” Parker Horveath

4) “I have become better at interacting with other people in a more sensitive way.”

Janet Heller, award-winning author and President of the Michigan College English Association, says therapy has helped her improve socially. “I have learned to do transactional analysis of how I interact with other people. This enables me to reexamine what I say and how I behave and to find patterns of certain issues that often upset me,” she explains. “I have become better at interacting with other people in a more sensitive and calm way.”

5) “Be grateful for all you have right here, right now.”

“As a therapist, I think all therapists should be in therapy and do their own work, so they can best help their clients. So, I’m no exception!” says Heidi McBain, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “My therapist is based in another city and we do online sessions (which is perfect since I also have an online counseling business). I honestly chose her because she is opposite of me in a lot of ways: I’m an endurance athlete (marathons, triathlons, etc.) and she is a therapist/yoga teacher who is also big on guided meditation. She says one phrase a lot that always sticks with me: ‘Be here now!’ Which to me means, don’t worry about the past or the future, just be grateful for all you have right here, right now. Just breathe and appreciate the moment.” Heidi McBain