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Family Guidance Blog

Mental Health and Physical Health Integration is Best Medical Practice

Expect to Find More Mental Health Evaluation as Part of Standard Care

mental healthOne quarter of all adults experience some kind of mental health problem during a given year. 70 percent of medical visits to primary healthcare providers are somehow linked to mental health and wellness. It is important that mental health and physical health services work together to help each individual on the road to better health.

A person’s body and spirit work in connection to make them who they are. Since people are a marvelous blend of body and spirit, the professionals who treat them must also work in conjunction in order to benefit the whole person. An independent health care approach which focuses merely on management of symptoms (whether mental or physical) has proven to be less than successful. An integrated approach which combines mental health and primary care services provides better results.

Integrating mental health and primary health care isn’t costly, just more effective. In fact, by combining the two, we can expect to save money while improving outcomes. Take diabetes or heart disease as an example. These two illnesses are among the most common reasons for visits to the primary provider. And 20 percent of those with diabetes or heart disease also experience depression. That makes them less likely to comply with doctor’s recommendations and significantly lowers their quality of life.

Yet, with just a few questions, doctors can screen patients for depression and steer them toward successful treatment, thereby improving patient compliance and significantly bettering their daily lives. Perhaps, even extending their lives. Look for primary care providers to start making depression screenings, substance abuse referrals and behavioral assessments for children part of their standard care.

At Family Guidance Center, we work hand in hand with medical professionals on a daily basis. We believe that treating the whole person is the key to improving overall health and wellness. People are more than a list of symptoms. They are complex, interactive beings and we believe that addressing all aspects of a person’s health is the best way to achieve full health.

Geriatric Mental Health Receiving Special Attention

Working to Better Address Mental Health Needs of Seniors

mental healthThe baby boomer generation is hitting retirement age. In fact, older adults now account for 13 percent of our entire U.S. population. The same demographic which has driven so much of American culture is continuing to be in the forefront of our culture – now in the field of mental health care. The issue of geriatric mental health was featured in the fall edition of the influential Harvard Review of Psychiatry. Here are some of the mental health challenges that were highlighted:


As older adults are confronted with debilitating and sometimes terminal health conditions, depression can be a common side effect. Rather than only working to help older patients with terminal illnesses overcome their depression, mental health professionals are also focusing on quality of life through more palliative treatments.


Dementia is a term that is very broad. Experts are seeking to replace it with several terms that will be more specific in terms of degree. Instead of dementia, health care workers will refer to major neurocognitive disorder, mild neurocognitive disorder or delirium. More attention will be paid to catching neurocognitive impairment early (mild) and treating it in its initial stages.


Older adults do experience anxiety and anxiety disorders, but they are frequently difficult to identify because symptoms change with age. Understanding what anxiety disorder looks like in later life is important and will be receiving more medical attention.

As a person’s physical health wavers, mental health can also be affected. The many changes and losses that come with later life can likewise trigger mental illness. At Family Guidance Center we welcome reports of new areas of geriatric study. All of life deserves the best in healthcare –whether in physical or mental health services. Don’t assume that getting older goes hand in hand with feeling sad, or anxious because it doesn’t have to be that way. Come talk with us and see how we can help.

Being Prepared for a Mental Health Crisis

Recommended Steps Before the Mental Health Crisis Occurs

mental health crisisHow well prepared are you in case of a mental health crisis? Such crises are more common than you think. According to our nation’s CDC, a mental health crisis sent 4 million Americans to hospital emergency rooms. If you have a loved one living with a mental health condition, there are steps you can take to be prepared beforehand in the event of a possible moment of crisis.

Be Informed

If someone close to you is living with a mental health condition then you want to be informed about their illness. Know what the common symptoms of the condition are and how frequently they show up. You need to be able to tell if symptoms are worsening in an out-of-the-ordinary manner. It’s also helpful to inform yourself regarding all of the available mental health services in the area.

Be Alert

Suicide is a serious and very real risk for those with a chronic mental health condition. But it is not the only crisis point. Extreme panic attack, paranoia and hallucinations also constitute a mental health crisis. These can be debilitating. If your loved one becomes unmanageable, overly agitated or behaves violently, take note. And if they talk about suicide, pay attention. Nearly 90 percent of those who take their own lives spoke of doing so beforehand.

Be in Touch

A mental health crisis most often will present warning signs. It’s so important that your loved one is meeting regularly with a mental health professional and that you feel comfortable contacting that person should you see signs of trouble.

Family Guidance Center is staffed with trained mental health professionals. We are here day in and day out to help your loved one. We also offer families support and guidance. With care you may be able to avoid a mental health crisis.

Childhood Mental Health: Many do Not Receive Treatment for Mental Illness

Ignoring Childhood Mental Health Puts Children at Risk

What if there were an illness that affected half of kids in America and most of them never got any treatment?mental health Unfortunately, that is the case in our country. A recent report released through the Child Mind Institute finds that 50 percent of kids in this country will experience a mental health condition at some juncture during their childhood. Yet just 7.4 percent of kids per year receive treatment for their illness.

The biggest mental health condition faced by U.S. children today is anxiety in its various forms (generalized, PTSD, social anxiety, phobia, separation anxiety and panic disorder). Anxiety accounts for 40 percent of all childhood mental illness in this country (31.9 percent with anxiety, 8.3 percent with severe anxiety). The median age of anxiety onset is just six years old.

Not only do American children not get the immediate care that they need, studies reveal that it is not likely that these kids will ever receive care. Untreated childhood mental illness puts kids at risk as they grow up for other health problems and increases the chance that they will not complete high school.

With so many children experiencing mental health symptoms, parents need to be vigilant about looking for any signs of trouble. Symptoms of childhood anxiety include: excessive anxiousness, irritability, sleep disruption, inability to concentrate and/or being fidgety. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your medical doctor or make an appointment for a mental health check-up with one of our mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center. We can help. Children who receive prompt attention are able to develop valuable tools for managing anxiety that will help them on the road to a happy and healthy life.

When Mood Disorders Co-Occur With Your Child’s ADHD

Mood Disorders That Can be Linked to ADHDmood disorders

Sometimes when an individual is diagnosed with one mental health condition it can trigger another. All children with ADHD will not develop comorbid mood disorders, but some do and parents should be alert to the possibility. Here are some of the mood disorders most commonly experienced by children with ADHD:


Dysthymia is a minor depression. With it children will show signs of depression such as low self-worth, irritability, sleep or appetite changes, trouble concentrating and general hopelessness. To be diagnosed with dysthymia the child would meet at least two of the diagnostic criteria, although symptoms may come and go.

Major Depression

Major depression is characterized by persistent sadness, listlessness, lack of enjoyment, sleep and appetite changes and increasing isolation. In kids, major depression may manifest as frequent crying, irritability without an obvious cause or talk about death. The difference between dysthymic and major depression is largely a matter of the number and persistence of symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder

This manifests as swings in mood which range from one extreme (pole) to the other. Sometimes the person is inordinately positive, energetic and productive. At other times, they are so deeply depressed that even basic self-care feels like a monumental effort. In children with bipolar disorder, symptoms may present as behavioral, social and emotional disturbance.

In combination with ADHD symptoms of mood disorders can be difficult to identify and, at the same time, more intense. Low self-worth, for example, is a common symptom for kids with ADHD. Irritability is the same – frustration with frequent challenges and failures can produce regular problems of irritability. This makes it challenging to see the co-occurring mental health condition.

At Family Guidance Center we have mental health professionals that can help with treatment for ADHD and an accompanying mood disorder. If you suspect your child may be depressed or has symptoms of a co-occurring mood disorder, call us today.