Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month which looks to raise awareness about mental health issues and related concerns in the United States. In recent years the attitude towards mental health has been changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have decreased and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health concerns and support for individuals with them.

The idea of mental health awareness campaigns is not a recent event. In the late 1940′s the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was started in the United States. In the 1960’s this annual, weekly event was upgraded to a monthly designated event.

Mental health awareness is an important concept. According to a study published in 2017, which followed individuals ages 11-38 and tracked their mental health, 17% avoided mental health issues. Forty -one percent had a mental health condition that lasted for multiple years and forty-two percent had short –lived mental health conditions. Depression, anxiety and substance abuse were the most common diagnoses in the study. In addition, the leading cause of disability is not cancer or chronic pain, According to the data from the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and has held that distinction for many years.

Unfortunately, despite increasing awareness, the rate of depression is not decreasing. In developing nations, people often did not receive treatment for symptoms of depression. Between the years of 2005-20015, the rate of depression actually increased by 18 percent.

HealthNet’s Behavioral Health and Human Services Line has licensed therapists and psychiatric providers to help work with many of these life challenges.  Our Navigators schedule appointments and assist with the program’s flow.  A  Navigator can be contacted at the centers where there is a Behavioral Health provider to schedule an appointment. Therapists are trained to help you with issues such as stress management, relationship issues, divorce, parent/child communication, sexual abuse, eating disorders, domestic violence, grief/loss, job changes, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Social Workers are advocates for our patients and will assist families with their basic needs. Social workers can also provide education, support and referrals to additional agencies.

Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners prescribe medications and can make referrals to other specialists.   Nurses assist with your medication questions, concerns, and refills in between appointments with the psychiatrist/psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Behavioral Health program if you have any questions, or if we can be of any assistance. To learn more, please click here.

Post by Jim Jones PhD

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