• May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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    May 09, 2023
    As we are experiencing the ups and downs of the spring weather we can reflect on how it parallels with how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. The stresses of the holidays are over and many New Year’s resolutions are waning.  I am not sure who chose the month of May to recognize Mental Health Awareness but for me, it seems like a fitting time to take a moment and check ourselves and those closest to us and how we are feeling.
    We are now experiencing more hours of daylight, trees are filling out, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the mushrooms are peaking out of the ground. What better time to hit the reset button, shake off the winter doldrums, close our eyes to the past and breathe in the fresh air of newness all around us.

    For many, hitting the reset button may not be enough and they are unsure how to get started with seeing things in a positive light. Mental illness comes in many forms, from brief episodes of depression due to experiencing a loss, to symptoms that can last a lifetime.  We are all wired differently and we have learned that one treatment or medication is not the answer for everyone. Let me share some myths and facts about mental health from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

    Myth #1: Mental health problems are not that common.
    Fact: Mental health issues can affect anyone. In 2020, about:
    • One in 5 American adults experienced a mental health condition in a given year
    • One in 6 young people have experienced a major depressive episode
    • One in 20 Americans have lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
    *** To put this in perspective, 1 in 5 adults may be someone in your immediate family or friend group, or 1 in 6 young people could be one of your child’s classmates and 1 in 20 Americans could be someone in your workplace, church or neighborhood. Mental illness is not usually a visible illness.

    Myth #2: Children don’t experience mental health issues.
    Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health conditions are often clinically diagnosable and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.
    • Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14-years-old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
    • Unfortunately, only half of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health conditions receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
    ***Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center is present in several Clinton County schools providing counseling services to our youth. If you think your child would benefit from counseling contact Bridgeview to find out if we provide services in their school or schedule an appointment at our offices.

    Myth #3: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental health conditions, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
    Fact: People with mental health conditions can be just as productive as other employees, especially when they are able to manage their mental health condition well. Employers often do not know if someone has a mental health condition, but if the condition is known to the employer, they often report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with, or greater than, other employees.

    *** The majority of adults seeking treatment at Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center are employed.

    Myth #4: Mental health issues are a result of personality weakness or character flaws, and people can “snap out of it” if they try hard enough.
    Fact: Mental health conditions have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health conditions, including:
    • Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
    • Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
    • Family history of mental health conditions
    People with mental health conditions can get better and many seek recovery support.

    *** Part of Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center services is to complete a comprehensive assessment to determine potential factors related to ones mental health issues.

    Myth #5: There is no hope for people with mental health issues.  Once a friend or family member develops a mental health condition, they will never recover.
    Fact: Studies show that people with mental health conditions get better and many are on a path to recovery. Recovery refers to the process in which people can live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.

    *** Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center offers support services like, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Integrated Health Home services, Community Support services, Co-Occurring groups and Anger Management groups, in addition to therapy for people who need additional supports.

    Myth #6: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
    Fact: Treatment for mental health conditions vary depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals do best when they work with a support system during the healing and recovery process.

    *** As I spoke to previously, one pill or treatment is not a one size fits all solution. Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center therapists and medical staff provide individualized care and treatment planning that best suits that persons biological and environmental needs.

    Myth #7: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health issue.
    Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. In 2020, only 20% of adults received any mental health treatment in the past year, which included 10% who received counseling or therapy from a professional. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
    • Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
    • Helping them access mental health services
    • Help them learn self-care and coping techniques
    • Learning and sharing facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true
    • Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
    • Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy", instead use person-first language
    *** Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center provides consultative and educational supports to individuals and their families who are struggling with how to respond to their mental health issues.

    Myth #8: It is impossible to prevent a mental health condition.
    Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors, such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health conditions. Promoting a person’s social-emotional well-being leads to:
    • Higher overall productivity
    • Better educational outcomes
    • Lower crime rates
    • Stronger economies
    • Improved quality of life
    • Increased lifespan
    • Improved family life
    ***Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center provides educational opportunities to the community.  Feel free to contact us to schedule a presentation.

    Now that you have a little more information about mental health issues, take the time to reread the facts and ask yourself, “Do I know someone who is having a rough time or acting differently?”, or “Am I struggling to feel good?”  If the answer is “yes”, offer to help them access services and be there for them throughout the process. If you are the one struggling and you feel you cannot talk with friends or family, services are a phone call away. As well as our normal working hours, Bridgeview offers after hour emergency crisis services in which you will be connected with someone who can provide therapeutic options. In addition to Bridgeview’s phone number I have listed numbers offered in Iowa to assist someone who is in crisis or needs someone to talk to. 

    Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center: 563-243-5633
    Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region Crisis Line: 855-581-8111
    Iowa Warm Line- Non-Crisis Line: 844-775-WARM(9276)
    Let today be the day you take action to make a difference in your life or the life of someone you care about.

    Patti Robinson, MA, CRC, LBSW                                                                                                                                 
    Director of Outpatient Service                                                                                                            
    Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center

    Paul Blair, Executive Director
    paul.blair@bridgeviewcmhc.com, (563) 243-5633