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Prestera: Mental health a common issue throughout America

Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:14 PM

Mental health problems are more common than most people know.

The federal government estimates nearly one in four adults in the U.S. will experience symptoms of a mental health problem every year (see the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health website or www.webmd.com).  Americans are far more likely to seek help from a physician when they have health problems than they are to seek help for a mental health problem. Like other health problems, mental health problems are treatable.  

Understanding the signs of a problem and knowing how to act provides the best hope for feeling better and reducing symptoms. Preventing a mental health problem from escalating to an emergency helps ensure safety and can save a life.

Symptoms of mental illness can include changes in thinking, changes in mood and/or changes in behavior. Behavior changes like social withdrawal, loss of interest in usual activities, sleep problems, appetite problems, peculiar behavior and changes in hygiene can be signs of mental illness.

Mood swings may be another sign of problems where a person’s mood changes from excited or angry to low and depressed, in some cases occurring over days and sometimes within hours. Problems with illogical thinking, concentration and memory can be other signs of a mental illness.

Feeling disconnected, losing track of time, believing in magic, believing one can influence events, believing someone is watching or controlling, believing they are someone other than themselves, being fearful or suspicious or feeling extremely anxious or nervous may also signal a mental health problem.

This symptom list does not necessarily mean there is a mental illness health problem, however, when these symptoms begin to interfere with everyday life, professional mental health care services should be considered. When symptoms interfere with enjoying life, interfere with working, interfere with studies or with relationships, professional help is recommended.   

Professional care and treatment starts with a mental health evaluation for the purpose of developing a diagnosis and plan for treatment services. Education about mental illness and the usual symptoms is an important part of treatment.  Making symptoms more manageable is part of treatment and feeling better.  Treatment can include medications and working with a physician or a Psychiatrist. Careful monitoring to ensure symptoms do not worsen is another important component to treatment. Some times more intensive services are required.   

Sometimes, mental illness escalates to the point where the person is dangerous to themselves or to others. Thinking about committing suicide, planning suicide or attempting suicide or committing extremely violent acts is a mental health emergency. Mental health emergencies require immediate action.

Thinking about suicide is also more common than most people know. Suicide was the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2007, according to  www.nimh.nih.gov. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. A national suicide prevention life line is open all the time, every day, at 800-273-8255 (TALK).  

Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through Prestera Center by calling toll-free to 877-399-7776. Counselors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists are on-call all the time. Crisis stabilization units where adults in crisis are admitted for intensive residential treatment for 5 to 10 days are available in Charleston and Huntington.

The Crisis Units prevent problems from escalating and stabilizes symptoms of the person’s mental illness with intensive therapy and medications so they can return to improved functioning after a brief treatment stay and continue in services at a less restrictive, less intensive level of care. Know when it is time to get help and get it.             

Prestera Center offers Putnam County residents access to effective mental health and addictions treatment services in Winfield and Hurricane. Offices in Winfield are located at 3389 Winfield Road, Suite 8, on the grounds of the Courthouse Complex. Professionals are available to see new people, answer questions, provide services to children, adolescents and families, adults with depression or anxiety or more severe mental health problems or anyone with addiction or substance abuse problems.

The Winfield location is taking new clients by appointment at 304-586-0670 and walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday between 8 and 9 a.m.  

Offices in Hurricane are called “Hopewell” and are located at 3772 Teays Valley Road, Suite 2. The Hopewell offices specialize in serving adults with insurance in need of addiction treatment, medication-assisted addiction treatment and mental health problems like depression and anxiety or more severe mental health problems. The Hopewell offices in Hurricane are also accepting new clients and scheduling appointments by phoning 304-757-8475.   

Kim Miller is the director of Corporate Development at Prestera. She can be reached at kim.miller@prestera.org.