MENTAL HEALTH | May 10, 2024
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May is Mental Health Month, a time to focus on the importance of our emotional and mental well-being

Pillar Health and Kenosha Community Health Center are working together to educate communities in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties about mental health. This article will explore what mental health is, why it’s vital, and look at some mental health statistics affecting our community.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health involves our feelings, how we think, and how we behave. It plays a crucial part in how we handle stress, make decisions, and connect with others. Good mental health helps us lead a happy and healthy life.

Why is Mental Health Important?

Taking care of our mental health helps us:

  • Deal with stress
  • Work and study better
  • Achieve our goals
  • Contribute to our community

Ignoring mental health can lead to severe problems like feeling very sad, upset, or worried, which might affect other parts of our health.

Signs of Mental Illness

Figuring out if someone’s behavior is just typical or a sign of mental illness can be tough. There isn’t a simple test that tells you if it’s a mental health issue or just how someone is feeling that day.

However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests many signs that might suggest a mental health issue in both kids and adults:

  • Feeling really worried or scared a lot.
  • Feeling very sad.
  • Having trouble thinking clearly or learning new things.
  • Having really big mood swings, like feeling super happy then suddenly very sad.
  • Getting annoyed easily and often.
  • Not wanting to hang out with friends or go out.
  • Having a hard time understanding or getting along with others.
  • Sleeping too much or too little, or feeling very tired all the time.
  • Eating a lot more or a lot less than usual.
  • Feeling different about how often you want to be close to others.
  • Seeing or believing things that aren’t real.
  • Not noticing changes in your own feelings or behavior.
  • Using alcohol or drugs more than usual.
  • Having lots of body aches and pains that don’t go away.
  • Thinking about harming yourself.
  • Struggling with everyday stuff like taking care of yourself or going to school or work.
  • Being very scared of gaining weight or being very focused on how you look.

Kids might show other signs like doing worse in school, feeling very anxious about going to bed or school, being very active, having nightmares often, not listening or following rules, or having lots of temper tantrums.

If you see these signs in yourself or someone else, it might be a good idea to talk to someone like a counselor or doctor. They can help figure out what’s going on and how to feel better.

Mental Health in Our Community

In the counties we serve—Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth—mental health issues like anxiety and depression are common. According to NAMI mental health statistics about 1 in 5 adults deal with mental health challenges every year. Anxiety disorders, which can make people feel extremely worried or scared, are common, but many people do not seek help or get treatment. 

This is true across different age groups, but especially among younger adults. For those between 18 to 25 years old, about 33.7% experience some form of mental illness. This number goes down with age, as 28.1% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 15% of those 50 and older report having mental health issues. 

Major depression is particularly significant, being the second most common mental illness with approximately 8.3% of the adult population experiencing at least one major depressive episode. Other conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bipolar Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) also show considerable rates of occurrence.

Common Mental Health Concerns

Here are some mental health problems that many people face:

  • Depression: Feeling very sad for a long time.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Feeling extremely worried about everyday things.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Experiencing extreme mood swings.
  • Schizophrenia: Having difficulty understanding what is real.
Treatments and Help

There are many ways to get help if you or someone you know is facing mental health issues:

  • Talking to a Therapist or Counselor: They can help you understand and manage your feelings.
  • Medicine: Sometimes, doctors prescribe medicine that can help treat symptoms.
  • Support Groups: Meeting other people facing similar challenges can be helpful.
Myths About Mental Health

Common myths about mental health:

  • Myth: Only certain types of people have mental health problems.
    • Fact: Anyone can face these issues, no matter their age, where they live, or what they do.
  • Myth: Talking about mental health is a sign of weakness.
    • Fact: It’s brave to talk about your feelings and seek help.

Pillar Health and Kenosha Community Health Center Offers Help

Mental Health Month is a great time to learn more and support each other. We have special doctors called psychiatrists who check, find out what’s wrong, and treat mental, emotional, and behavior problems. The team sees patients who are 6 years old and older. Dr. Codie Vassar works with children beginning at age 6 years to adults. 

We also have psychotherapy for adults and children as young as 11 years old. It’s also called talk therapy, which is talking to someone to help work through mental health problems and feelings. Their team includes Dr. Clare Lewandowski, Javier Luna-Blanco, Kari DeBerg, Amanda Martinez, Cassie Gillen and Erica Moreno, who are all trained to help young people.

Pillar Health and Kenosha Community Health Center want to make sure young people get the help and care they need. They offer services that are affordable, and they won’t turn you away if you can’t pay much.

We accept Medicaid, Medicare, and many insurance plans. If you don’t have insurance, you might still get help for as little as $30 through their program. To make an appointment or learn more, please call 262-656-0044. 

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If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or having a really tough time with mental health, you can call or text 988 any time of day, any day of the week. When you call this number, you’ll talk to a trained crisis counselor. They are there to listen carefully and without judging you. The counselor will help make sure you are safe and will tell you about mental health services near you. 

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

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Do not wait to schedule your appointment.

Kenosha Community Health Center has many appointment options in Kenosha and Silver Lake to meet your needs.

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