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Get Help Before It Becomes a Crisis – Mental Illness Preventative Care

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Equity, Mental Health

Forward, Together with western tidewater community services board

You may feel that your mental health struggles pop up minimally and that you will be perfectly fine without any help. But what you might not foresee is that the patch you are putting on today may not prevent a crisis that can be triggered by a single event tomorrow.

Preventative care is more than a patch, it counteracts major mental illness episodes before they become a crisis.

The Benefits of Preventative Mental Health Care

Preventative mental health care encourages and increases the protection that can prevent the onset of a diagnosable mental disorder, and it also reduces the risk factors that can lead to a crisis. Preventative mental health care is much less costly, and the duration of treatment is shorter compared to the intervention required following a major mental health episode. Much time is lost when a person ignores mental health symptoms – time that could have allowed early intervention and getting better soon.

Prevention Does Help

Prevention is invaluable. Many people believe that mental health conditions cannot be prevented. But they can, in everyone, in every community, and especially in our young children and our youth.

At the roots, preventative mental health care covers three key levels:

  1. Primary prevention stops mental health problems before they start by decreasing risk factors.
  2. Secondary prevention involves supporting individuals with high-risk factors for mental health problems (such as biological factors, life experiences, and family history of mental health illness) to reduce the progression of mental health disorders. This process involves screening, early identification, and brief treatment.
  3. Tertiary prevention helps people at a higher level that are living with mental health problems to remain well and have a good quality of life.

Understanding Mental Health

Stigmas and myths about mental health often deter people from seeking preventative care. The most common myths and stigmas are that mental health conditions are always dangerous, and leave people unstable, or that mental health problems are caused by personality weaknesses or character flaws and that people can make them go away simply by trying hard enough. These myths often lead to feelings of shame and prevent individuals from seeking care. But the truth is that mental health affects everyone in every community. There is NO shame in taking care of ourselves.

Mental health affects our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, and act. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and whether or not we make healthy choices. Mental health is an important factor at every stage in our life, from childhood to adolescence, and through adulthood.

Related: Do you know the early signs that you need to seek mental health care? Learn more at What is Mental Health Really?

Understanding Higher Risk Factors

Multiple factors can increase your risk of developing a mental health problem and increase the chances that you may experience a mental health crisis.

The main risk factors that contribute to mental health problems are:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Inequity in mental health care also contributes to higher risk factors in America, and in entire (already imperiled) communities. Minority groups are not accessing health care, nor preventative care, for many reasons, such as systematic racism, bias, and discrimination in treatment settings.

Members of minority racial groups also have limited resources, making it difficult to afford health care. People in some communities also face stigma and cultural factors that create barriers to seeking help for mental illnesses.

Some studies indicate that 30% of the population worldwide is affected by a mental disorder and over two-thirds of those affected do not receive the care they need. About 57.7 million adults experience a mental disorder annually, and 1 in 17 people have a serious mental health condition.

This means that millions of people are subject to higher risk factors for experiencing a major mental illness episode every day, and do not seek preventative care due to limited resources, stigma, and discrimination. We hope that you, regardless of your community, or their underlying beliefs, reach out for help to mitigate any mental health struggles that you have today.

We Are Here to Help

We offer a variety of counseling services that can help you manage and understand your mental health – your emotions, self-confidence, and relationships with others – and to work through and solve the problems that you have in your life. We are here to help you feel better in life – today, tomorrow, and ongoing!

We are a Community of Hope

We’re here and ready to connect 24/7. We make access to professional, high-quality, wrap-around care affordable, convenient, and easy – including Same Day Access for crisis intervention.

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