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What is Mental Health?

Did you know that in total, 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year? Mental health impacts everyone, regardless of age, race, class, background, or gender. In fact, depression is considered the leading cause of disability worldwide. This is why accessible and affordable mental health care, services and information are important for all people and nations. Today we’re highlighting the basics of mental health to answer some of the questions that you may have regarding available care and services in the United States.

What is mental health?

Simply put, mental health refers to our emotional, psychological and social well-being in the world. Mental health is important for all backgrounds including different ages, genders, races, and socio-economic statuses (class status). The decisions we make, the way we feel and how we interact with others can all be impacted by our mental health.

An individual's mental health should be taken just as seriously as their physical health. Just as a person would go to a doctor when they break a bone, a person should also seek a doctor or professional services when experiencing issues with their mental health.

What are signs of mental health issues?

There are numerous potential signs of mental health issues. According to mental, individuals may experience the following:

Eating or sleeping too much or too little

Pulling away from people and usual activities

Having low or no energy

Feeling numb or like nothing matters

Having unexplained aches and pains

Feeling helpless or hopeless

Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual

Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared

Yelling or fighting with family and friends

Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships

Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head

Hearing voices or believing things that are not true

Thinking of harming yourself or others

Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

It should be noted that these are just some of the common signs, but every person is different and may articulate their struggles in many diverse ways. Individuals who feel that they are struggling or are worried about someone they love should consult a professional or encourage others to consult a professional.

What’s the difference between Psychiatry vs Psychology?

Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who can prescribe medications and work with patients who are struggling with mental health issues to help them manage their medication as a course of treatment.

Psychologists are professionals in the academic field of psychology who work with patients to utilize means such as behavioral intervention for the treatment of numerous mental health care issues.

Oftentimes, psychiatrists and psychologists work together to help patients receive the best treatment.

What is licensed social worker?

A licensed social worker is a person who has completed a graduate degree in social work (MSW) and offers counseling services to individuals in need. Professionals who work in the field can help individuals who are struggling with behavioral, health and/or social issues. Licensed social workers are particularly important for disadvantaged people who are in need of mental health care. They oftentimes are the most accessible providers of mental health care services to marginalized populations in the United States.

How much does mental health cost?

Much of the healthcare we receive in the United States is dependant on health insurance. Oftentimes, if you have access to health insurance you can inquire with your provider about what is covered regarding mental health services. Usually, insurance providers will cover some of your mental health care, but will require a copay. What is or is not covered however, is all dependent on your specific insurance provider.

If you do not have access to insurance there are many providers who will often work on a sliding scale. This means that they will work with you to adjust their fee to match with your current financial resources. This is specific to each mental health care provider so it is important to contact them directly and ask if they offer a sliding scale for patients. Local clinics and government sponsored care (Medicaid) are also available resources.

Where can you find mental health care?

Unfortunately, around 56 percent of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. Additionally, African American & Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about 1/2 the rate of whites in the past year. Access to mental health services is a necessity for all people and there are many different barriers people face in receiving the mental healthcare they need.

In general, it’s good to have an idea of what type of services you are looking for before beginning your service for mental health care services. It’s okay if you’re not quite sure where to start. Here is a list of the many different types of services you may be looking for and some tips to use when seeking out health care services in your area.

Mental health care and services are important for everyone. There is no shame in seeking help if you are dealing with a mental health issue.

Learn more about specific services offered by Lu Rocha Counseling Services, P.C. by checking out her available services and rates.

Contributing Writer: Brittany A. Hamilton

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