How is your mental health these days? I bet if someone asked you that question, you would probably have quite a lot to say on the subject. I would also guess that your answer may change from day to day, and maybe even moment to moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown everyone for a loop and brought to light many challenges in most of our daily lives. For some folks, mental health has really been difficult to maintain since the onset of the pandemic and the many stressors that have come along with it.
At Thrive, our main focus is mental health. We believe that it is really difficult to be successful in many areas of life if your mental health is suffering, so we work hard to help our clients get the mental healthcare they need. One thing we are seeing since the pandemic started, is an increase across the board in people who report symptoms of mental illness. Prior to the pandemic, the number of people who reported symptoms of mental illness each year was about 1 in 5, or 20%. Throughout 2020, that number increased to 30% of people reporting symptoms of mental illness. More people are struggling than ever before, which is totally understandable when you consider the conditions we have been living with for the past year and a half. The question becomes, then, what can be done to improve people’s mental health?
Thrive offers help for people with severe and persistent mental illness at our Clubhouse Day Program. This program has been providing mental health services in Henderson County since 1983, and the program has helped hundreds of people to move from surviving to thriving in the community. At the Clubhouse, staff work side-by-side with members with a focus on “doing with” rather than “doing for.” Clubhouse staff know how important it is for members to have a voice and a say in the day-to-day decisions. At the Clubhouse, members work to improve vocational skills, learn daily living skills like cooking, and learn how to have healthy relationships. Members experience fewer hospitalizations and law enforcement contacts as a result of attending the Clubhouse.
While the Clubhouse is great for some people, it isn’t the right fit for everyone who is experiencing symptoms of mental illness. Thrive is so thankful for our community partners who also offer people help with mental healthcare, like AdventHealth. AdventHealth offers both in-patient and out-patient treatment options for behavioral healthcare in our community, which means that patients can easily access the level of care they need to be well.
At AdventHealth, there is a focus on Whole-Person Care – body, mind and spirit. On the website, AdventHealthNC.com, you will see many references to Whole-Person Care as they describe the many services offered to strengthen the body, mind, and spirit and encourage overall wellness. The behavioral health care services offered at AdventHealth are extensive. There are options for individual, group, and family therapy, pediatric and geriatric psychiatric services, relaxation therapy, therapeutic crafts, and many others. They have psychiatrists and psychologists available and they offer in-patient and out-patient services for behavioral health. They also offer Primary Care Behavioral Health which provides seamless access to behavioral health care for patients who share concerns with their primary care providers. Primary care providers, who often have a long-term and trusted relationship with their patients, can play a key role in assessing the need for and providing behavioral health interventions.
In August, AdventHealth expanded this collaborative care to even more patients through a partnership with Concert Health. AdventHealth Hendersonville was a pilot for this program. “It has been a dream come true to embed this facet of patient care within our offices,” said Kelley Singer, MD, director of physician quality and physician enterprise for AdventHealth Hendersonville. “Patients visibly relax with relief as they learn behavioral health professionals practice within the same location. The willingness to engage with our psychiatrists or psychologists is almost 100% now, contrasting with almost never in the past.”
Hendersonville is so lucky to have multiple options for mental health care available in our very own community, but we have to spread the word! It is crucial that we ensure people actually know about their options for mental health. We need to make sure that people know who they can call if they need help or if they are concerned about the mental health of a loved one. Share the information; talk about it with your friends and family. Let’s normalize mental health care, so that anyone who needs help knows who to call and is not afraid to ask for help when they need it.