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Tag Archives: mental health care

Improving Mental Healthcare Access, One Step at a Time

Happy 1During the past year, government leaders responded to national events by promising better funding and more attention to mental health care in general. Recently, a few leaders took steps toward living up to those promises.

On the federal level, Vice President Biden announced that $100 million would be earmarked for improving access to mental healthcare services. Community-based mental health centers and services for rural areas were particularly noted as in line for better funding.

In Congress, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania recently proposed a bill to create revenue for better mental health care services. The Congressman encouraged all professionals affected by mental health care (first responders, teachers, doctors etc.) to speak with their local representatives to let them know how important investing in mental health care is to them.

Ron Hoberg, Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that less than one half of those living with a serious mental disorder have access to needed treatment. He also points out that, at the same time, states have lost $4 billion in mental health care funding as a result of the nation’s great recession.

According to NAMI, 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, have voted to spend more on mental health care. Those funds have gone toward things like promoting school-based instruction on recognizing signs of mental illness. Past monies were mainly allocated toward those well enough to seek out services. Now, after seeing that people with mental illness are often not in treatment, the nation is pushing for increased accessibility and improved numbers of mentally ill individuals receiving appropriate treatment.

If someone you care about is struggling with mental illness, it’s important that they receive much needed support and care. Mental illness, like other physical illnesses, deserves attention and treatment. With proper diagnosis and symptom management, many return to a quality of life. Contact the St Joseph Family Guidance Center to take the first step today.

New Rules Mean New Hope For Mental Health Care Access

After a year of evening news stories about mass shootings and the mental illness that inspired them, President Obama has taken decisive action that should make it easier to access mental health services for 62 million Americans. The President has imposed new rules that require insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health care that is comparable to coverage offered for all other types of illnesses.

The rules are due in part to implementation of the president’s signature Obamacare health policy and in Obamacare 1part to a law written in 2008 which prescribed greater parity for mental health care services. The move is welcomed by mental health professionals who have long hoped to see the removal of prejudicial distinctions between physical and mental illness. In other words, the more that mental health is treated as a normal part of overall health, the fewer stigmas there should be in seeking out services.

But, stigma is not the only thing being lowered by the President’s rules. These rules should also lower bureaucratic red tape that keeps people from the help they need. For example, in the past, a person with a physical injury who showed up at the hospital emergency room was admitted and given treatment before submitting to the insurance company. On the other hand, a person with a mental concern like depression or suicidal feelings was required to get the okay from their insurance company first, before receiving treatment. No longer.

The new rules further impose parity by allowing mental health patients to go out-of-state in order to get the best or most appropriate treatment. Cancer patients have long been able to seek out care from treatment centers in other states. Now, persons looking for help with substance abuse or mental illness will be able to do the same.

The new rules offer hope that more people will receive the treatment they need as the barriers to that help are removed. If someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns please contact The Family Guidance Center today.

Three Mental Illnesses that Affect Millions of Americans

10855632_sMore often than not, mental illness does not receive the same attention as conditions affecting physical health. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that mental illness is still surrounded by a cloud of stigma making it difficult for society to openly talk about and address such issues.  Other times there is a lack of education and awareness regarding mental health matters and just how many people are truly impacted by them.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that over a quarter of all Americans over the age of 18 have a diagnosable mental illness each year. That equates to almost 63 million men and women. Three of the most common mental health problems include eating disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders.

Eating Disorders. Women tend to be diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia far more frequently than men. Both anorexia and bulimia can leave a person severely malnourished and trigger other serious health problems. In each case, the course of treatment may include individual and group therapy and family support. Sometimes an anti-depressant is necessary to treat symptoms of depression. Additionally, millions of women and men live with binge eating disorder or compulsive eating disorders, and may have untreated coexisting mental illnesses that contribute to the destructive cycle.

Mood Disorders. Two of the more frequently diagnosed mood disorders include bipolar disorder and depression. Approximately 6 million Americans are affected by bipolar disorder, and more than twice that (15 million)  live with major depressive disorder. Without treatment, both can seriously affect family life, careers, finances and every area of life. Per NIMH figures, depression is the leading cause for disability for those between the ages of 15 and 44. Treatment involves medication and counseling.

Personality Disorders. Just under 10 percent of Americans are affected by personality disorders such as anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD), and avoidant personality disorder. These are serious forms of mental illness that impact daily functioning and social relationships. They can be more difficult to treat and often require medication.

Mental illness doesn’t have to dictate the course of a person’s life. With professional help, such as from Family Guidance Center,  many individuals manage symptoms successfully and lead very fulfilling and productive lives.  If you would like to set an appointment or learn more about available mental health services in your community, contact Family Guidance Center.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Mental Illness

10096783_sChances are, at some point in life, we will have to confront the issue of mental illness – if not personally, within our inner circle of family or friends. Children in particular may have a difficult time understanding what exactly it means to have a mental health problem. For this reason, it’s important to talk directly with your children and teach them the truth about mental illness.

Television and the media often show many sides of mental illness from moderate conditions to the more severe. Some instances may be exaggerated for a particular show or reality series. Regardless, children may receive false perceptions or not understand how to react to people that they perceive as different. Discussions about mental illness can minimize confusion and help children evolve into more understanding supportive adults.

You may be wondering how best to initiate these types of conversations. Here are a few tips to address issues of mental health with a younger audience:

  1. Let children know that mental illness is like physical illness in many ways. It involves ongoing symptoms and treatment options, including physical symptoms. Let them know that sometimes, however, mental disorders aren’t always obvious from the outside. However, mental illness is not anyone’s fault and may involve seeing a doctor to get better.

  2. Explain to children the importance of tolerance and patience for those who may be different. Let them know what it means to be compassionate and extend empathy to others. This is a trait that will aid them in many areas of life as they mature.

  3. Educate children that mental illness is not something that is contagious. Children whose parents are affected by mental illness may fear that they also may be diagnosed with the same illness. In the instance where the child is experiencing symptoms, it may be necessary to help normalize their feelings and train them to be accepting of support.

If you are concerned someone you love may have a mental health disorder, Family Guidance Center offers mental health assessments on a walk-in or same day basis. To learn more about mental health disorders or how to talk to your children about specific issues of mental health, contact Family Guidance Center.

Fighting Alcohol Addiction – Four Ways You Can Help a Loved One

20501502_sNobody expects to wake up one morning only to realize that he or she is addicted to alcohol. But research shows that around 10 percent of Americans have a problem with alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease, and though many people have good intentions to remain sober, that can be difficult without proper treatment and support networks in place – similar to the steps that would be required to manage any other disease.

Alcoholism is often a family disease, meaning its effects are not self-contained or isolated to just the affected person. In fact, for every individual living with alcoholism, there are six or more people who are also impacted by the disease. This is why counseling and treatment often involve the entire family. If someone in your family needs help with alcoholism, there are things you can do aid in the recovery process.

  1. Express your feelings. Let your loved one know that you are concerned for his safety and well-being. By taking the first step and expressing your own feelings, you make it easier for others to do the same. Be prepared to confront denial, however, as many individuals living with alcoholism may have a difficult time admitting to even themselves (at least at first) that they have a problem.

  2. Encourage treatment. Many support groups like AA and Al-Anon exist to help those living with alcoholism and their families know that they are not alone. These groups improve odds of recovery as they foster feelings of acceptance and support.

  3. Offer support. Advise that you will do what it takes to help the affected person get better. Studies show that dependent individuals are more successful in their sobriety when they are surrounded by strong support systems. Additionally, those who stay sober for 12 consecutive months have good chance of staying clean for the remainder of their life.

  4. Stage an intervention. As a last resort, interventions can be beneficial for loved ones in denial or those who remain resistant to seeking treatment. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and symptoms cannot be ignored. Include people who are close to the individual and those who are more apt to sway their decision to get help.

Family Guidance Center can help steer you in the right direction regarding treatment and recovery for alcohol addiction. There are many reasons and factors why individuals use alcohol as a coping mechanism; there are also many effective strategies for successfully managing triggers for a lifetime. Family Guidance Center has trained professionals in the Addiction Treatment Services program who can help those living with alcoholism to enjoy a productive life free from addiction.