President’s Blog – Mental Health Matters
The nonprofit organization Mental Health America’s “work is guided by its Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process. When we think about diseases like cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to stop and hopefully reverse the progression of the disease. Like other diseases, it is critical to address symptoms early and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.”
This plan of action in addressing mental health issues makes so much sense, but for some reason, we fail to execute the obvious. As a society, we refuse to discuss mental health and its importance to every aspect of society.
We refuse to see signs in those we love, or we chose not to address them. It’s easier to bury our collective heads in the sand and expect seriously ill people to heal themselves.
I did not research the numbers, but from my 27 years of experience in the Mobile nonprofit world, I feel very safe in saying that the number of people who need services in Mobile also need mental health counseling. Mental health issues may not be the cause for seeking assistance, but the stress caused by needing the assistance often creates a need for counseling.
Mental health affects the workplace, our homes, the economy, and our schools. It can lead to mental and physical abuse, plus alcohol and drug abuse. Coworkers and teachers often bear the weight of untreated mental health issues, which in turn causes stress, which cause mental health issues. It is a vicious cycle.
Donations to the United Way of Southwest Alabama fund many agencies that provide mental health counseling. There should be no shame in admitting that you or a loved one has some need of assistance. Would you wait if you had cancer or heart disease to seek treatment?
If you or a love one needs metal health services, call United Way 2-1-1 (888.421.1266) or visit www.211connectsalabama.org. If it is a mental health emergency, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800.273.8255.