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Understanding Mental Health

Did you know that 90% of U.S. adults think that the country is experiencing a mental health crisis? Well, given these overwhelming feelings, there’s never been a better time for understanding mental health.     

How common are mental illnesses? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 American adults and 1 in 5 children will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives. It seems everyone is dealing with something – including anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and sleep problems.

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. Our mental health impacts our day-to-day living. It helps determine how we handle stress and relate to others. It affects the choices we make, too.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of harmful attitudes and misunderstandings surrounding mental health. This can prompt people to ignore their problems and fail to seek help. It also makes the stigma even worse.

Why is your mental health important?  Mental health is an important part of physical health at every stage of our lives. So, the more mindful we are about our mental well-being, the healthier we can be.

Mental Health Warning Signs

According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), diagnosing mental illness isn’t a straightforward science. Each condition has its own set of unique symptoms, and these symptoms often overlap. It’s important to seek treatment if you experience any warning signs.

Warning signs of mental illness:

Behavioral Health Consultants at Spira Care Centers

What is a Behavioral Health Consultant? Behavioral Health Consultants, or BHCs, are licensed mental health clinicians who are qualified to treat a wide range of behavioral health issues. At Spira Care Centers, Behavioral Health Consultants are available to provide brief, focused behavioral health interventions for things like depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, life transitions, and more. They can also help you manage underlying behavioral health challenges that accompany chronic medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and chronic pain, among others.

Meeting with a BHC is an important first step in understanding what you’re experiencing. A mental health condition can’t be wished away, but it can be treated successfully with medications and/or talk therapy.

Spira Care works to reverse the stigma surrounding mental health and meets people where they are.

Megan Ross, a Behavioral Health Consultant at Spira Care says, “The fact that we have behavioral health support right in our centers is a huge step in that direction. A key in mental health is to connect with people in the moment when they’re feeling open and ready to talk.”

“Every time a patient comes in for a routine wellness exam at Spira Care, they have to do a PHQ (Patient Health Questionnaire) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) questionnaire that screens for anxiety, depression, and alcohol,” Ross shares.  

Ross continues, “Depending on a patient’s score and what they tell their provider, that opens the door for us to say, ‘We have Behavioral Health Consultants on site. Would you like to talk to them right now?’” 

Immediate intervention works best, according to Ross. “If you wait a week to call a patient, research has shown that more than likely they’re going to change their mind,” she says.

In other words, there’s no time like now to address any mental health concerns you have. And there’s no place that’s more welcoming, or more convenient, than your local Spira Care Center.

Appointments with a Behavioral Health Consultant are available with a referral from your Spira Care primary care provider. If you’re interested in meeting with a Behavioral Health Consultant, send a message to your provider through the patient portal or call 913-29-SPIRA (77472) to connect with your Care Team.

Sources: The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN and Kaiser Family Foundation.

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