National Public Health Week: States need to work on services for mental illnesses

National Public Health Week: States need to work on services for mental illnesses

Various agencies, including the state and the federal governments, are doing their bit in managing the health issues of the people. Today, mental health problems and substance use disorders are a major health concern in the United States. While most states are suffering from one or the other behavioral condition, Oklahoma ranks third among all the states in the U.S. when it comes to mental disorders and second for problems pertaining to illicit drug abuse, according to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings report, released in December 2016.

The figures related to mental illnesses and substance abuse problems in the state indicate the extent to which its affected citizens are in need of necessary services for complete recuperation.

In some cases, help is not readily available, though one cannot deny that the fear of backlash can force many people to keep their problems to themselves. The sense of panic associated with stigma mainly prevails due to lack of information available to the public about the commonality of mental disorders and the need to address them as opposed to silently suffering from them.

Elucidating on how misconceptions about mental illnesses affect the scope of treatment, Jean Williams, vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Oklahoma City said, “Myths about mental illness abound. Probably the most prevalent is that all behavior can be controlled. Along with this is the notion that poor behavior in children is because of bad parenting. Unfortunately, often parents who don’t know better blame themselves. When you have tried multiple strategies and nothing works, it is probably time to get help.”

Drug abuse problems are also common among the residents of the state. Abuse of prescription opioids is an increasing problem in Oklahoma. According to the Prevention Status Report, 2013, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state did not have any kind of pain clinic law in 2013. Since most people pop opioids for relief from pain, having pain clinics in one’s vicinity helps people use non-pharmacological ways to treat it.

According to a survey by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, 952 people succumbed to drug overdoses, including methamphetamine abuse, in 2016.

Endurance in family helps fight distress  

While most mental illnesses are indeed a result of disruption in brain functioning, complete dependence on science as opposed to the importance of familial ties only deteriorates the symptoms. Psychologically distressed people look for support from their family members and close ties. The tendency to judge mental patients by their inability to live normal lives only impedes their recovery process.

Myths surrounding symptoms of psychiatric disorders may result in affected people being identified as dangerous and left alone. Though some signs might be misconstrued, it is necessary that people look for early help to prevent a crisis in the long run.

Public health to be considered seriously

It is important to raise awareness about public health and inform people about the dangers of self-medication through pain relievers. At times, patients looking for freedom from their drug taking habit need to be checked for co-occurring disorders as well

To recognize the contributions of public health services and emphasize on issues important to improving the nation, the American Public Health Organization (APHA) will observe the National Public Health Week from April 3-9 this year.

Sovereign Mental Health Services believes that each mental illness is different and manifests differently in every individual. At our facilities located across the U.S., we treat a variety of mental and behavioral disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD. In addition to individual and group therapy, we offer alternative treatments including equine therapy, art therapy, yoga and mindfulness meditation. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for mental health facilities and mental health centers in your vicinity.

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