Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


Healing Mind & Body


 

Education, Early Intervention Key

One in five Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Fortunately, improved awareness surrounding mental health is evolving as practitioners and researchers gain a better grasp of the mind-body connection.

In Nashville, Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee (MHAMT) is helping break down age-old stigmas associated with a mental health disorder, sharing resources and spreading awareness of the need for early intervention. Founded in 1946 by Vanderbilt's first Chair of Psychiatry Frank Luton, MD, the organization connects the community with mental health and wellness resources, provides services that improve quality of life, and promotes effective services where mental health needs exist.


Tom Starling, EdD, CEO

"People are better understanding that mental illness isn't always schizophrenia or hoarding," said Tom Starling, EdD, CEO of MHAMT and incoming president of the national Mental Health America organization. "So often it's illness triggered by divorce or family problems, workplace wellness, returning from war or childbirth."


B4Stage4

Fortunately, many providers today have a better understanding of integrated, holistic care, including spirituality and the interconnectedness of physical and mental health. Starling said more and more providers are adopting integrative approaches that treat the whole person, which he said results in lower hospital readmission rates and improved outcomes.

"We have to make sure the person isn't just physically well but has the confidence and assurance to sustain themselves in less restrictive environments," he said. "Providers are better understanding that if you do have a mental health issue, you're not any more 'defective' than a person with a cholesterol problem. People are realizing there isn't 'health' without mental health."

To that end, Starling is a vocal advocate for early intervention for mental illness. MHA's campaign, B4Stage4, encourages providers and patients to seek help at the first sign of illness rather than waiting till it becomes an emergency.

"You would never purposefully wait until your cancer or kidney disease hit stage 4 before getting treatment, so why would you wait until hospitalization or incarceration to treat mental illness?" Starling asked. "Often times we know something's wrong but don't offer treatment until there's a suicide attempt or major crisis. By the time most people call us, they actually needed help six to eight weeks ago, and it's now a chronic ailment. We want to encourage early prevention through screenings and education."


Online Screenings

Since the inception of its online screening program in May 2014, the national MHA has collected more than three million screens, now averaging about 3,000 screenings a day.

The screens, which are also accessible through the MHAMT website, are free, confidential and evidence-based. There are screens to help identify conditions from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and PTSD. Starling said MHAMT also works with providers to create a customized URL, which allows the provider to offer the screens to patients from their practice website.

Starling said that two-thirds of those who screen positive online for mental illness have never received any sort of formal diagnosis. "If you test positive, there are places to go for help, and things you can do to get better," he said. For example, he continued, "There are so many things you can do to treat anxiety and depression from exercise and diet to improving your sleep architecture."


Reaching Out

MHA and state affiliates also provide "mental health first aid" training to airport personnel, clergy, law enforcement and others who might be called upon to stabilize a situation until mental health professionals arrive. Participants learn skills to better recognize panic attacks and suicidal ideation, or how to approach a person affected by addiction. There are additional courses teach caregivers to keep dementia patients safe at home and build resiliency for themselves, while school programs provide training on managing bullies and coping with bad days and negative emotions.

MHAMT also provides continuing education courses for providers, attorneys, counselors, long-term care staff, and other professionals likely to encounter those in need of mental health intervention. The specialized training, noted Starling, is especially important and helpful for frontline medical personnel, particularly those in emergency departments who are typically better trained to identify broken bones and lacerations than depression.

Another service is to serve as a resource to providers and a source of information. Starling said it can be difficult to navigate the mental health system, and MHAMT can provide materials for providers to keep on hand from the National Institute of Mental Health with many publications being available in both English and Spanish.


Connecting Patients, Providers

As a referral helpline service, MHAMT also helps patients connect with providers to find the most affordable services available, close to home. Staff have partnered on several community-wide efforts including the Tennessee Safety Net Consortium, which connects people to charitable clinics. Their goal is to encourage preventative care and help more patients find an integrated healthcare home. MHAMT's Nashville office also houses the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, which works to curb the 9th leading cause of death in Tennessee.

"One of the best things we can offer providers is education and awareness for the patient or client who needs more attention," said Starling, noting their ability to connect patients with local research studies and trials, brochures and other support materials. "We want to help providers keep patients and clients in a holding pattern until they have the treatment they need."

Mental Health America Annual Conference

June 14-16, Washington, DC

MHA's 2018 Annual Conference, "Fit for the Future," will tackle the question - how can we be fit for the future for mental health?

The conference will explore what we can do personally as individuals to keep ourselves healthy in the 21st Century - how data and personal narratives are increasingly connecting exercise and nutrition to overall mental health, and how leaders in the nutrition and fitness fields are using this information to promote overall health and well-being and impact the mental health of millions.

For registration and details, go online to MentalHealthAmerica.net.

WEB:

MHAMT

Safety Net Consortium of Middle Tennessee

MHA

MHA Screening

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Caring for Kids

Although the need is great, Middle Tennessee is fortunate to have dedicated professionals focused on helping the next generation reach their full potential.

Read More

Updating the Way to Pay

CMS is proposing big changes in the physician fee schedule and quality payment program for 2019

Read More

Physician Spotlight: John W. Brock, III, MD

Surgeon-in-chief, director of pediatric urology, professor, administrator, physician - Dr. John Brock wears many hats at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt ... and all of them are focused on making the lives of children better.

Read More

Accounting for ACE to Maximize Outcomes in Pediatric Patients

From adverse traumatic experiences to ongoing toxic stress, childhood traumas often play a role in adult physical, mental and emotional health.

Read More

Middle Tennessee Youth & Family Resources

Editor's Note: We recognize the following information is not an exhaustive list of all the service providers helping support our area youth. If you know of additional services and organizations that should be included, please email editor@nashvillemedicalnews.com, and we'll add the information to this article.

Read More

Pediatric Rounds

Nashville is blessed to have two outstanding pediatric hospital facilities, along with a host of nonprofits, pediatricians and other providers caring for the city's youngest citizens.

Read More

Getting Your Piece of the Pie

Getting paid for services starts before a patient walks through the door and continues long after they leave. Successfully managing all the parts of the revenue cycle is the best way to make sure your practices gets the correct piece of the revenue pie.

Read More

AAHAM: Celebrating 50 Years of Supporting Revenue Cycle Professionals

The rules and regulations impacting the healthcare revenue cycle are rapidly changing. AAHAM Music City Chapter gives local executives the tools to stay ahead.

Read More

Relode: Disrupting the Healthcare Staffing Industry

Relode is changing the recruitment model while saving employers time and money in the search for the ideal candidate.

Read More

Second Annual TriMED Conference Set for September

It's almost time for the second annual TriMED Healthcare Education Summit, which brings together key statewide organizations across multiple medical specialties for two days of insightful programming.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
Anxiety, B4Stage4, Behavioral Health, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Mental Health America, Mental Health America Middle Tennessee, Mental Illness, MHA, MHAMT, Safety Net Consortium, Suicide, Tom Starling
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: