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Mental Health Awareness Month

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In 1949, the United States proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Awareness month. This year the topic for Mental Health Awareness is “Back to Basics.” The goal is to revert to providing foundational knowledge about what constitutes good mental health, what is meant by mental health conditions, and what can we do when our mental health is a cause of concern. Golden Valley Health Centers (GVHC) will be honoring Mental Health Awareness Month by posting facts, statistics, tips, and resources through blog and social media posts throughout the month.

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The COVID-19 pandemic and Mental Health

For the past two years of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, our priorities of “well-being” shifted primarily to focus on our physical health:

  • Trying to avoid testing positive for COVID-19
  • Masking
  • Washing and sanitizing hands
  • Obtaining vaccinations
  • Sheltering in place
  • The temporary closing of businesses
  • Virtual schooling
  • Resorting to telehealth
  • Using video conference communications for meetings.

These preventative measures help avoid contagion bringing about other problems, especially for mental health. These measures contributed to increases in mental health conditions such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Higher rates of suicidal ideation and completion
  • Substance use

The combination of fear of the contagion, unemployment, loss of income, increases in alcohol and other substances, limited opportunities to socialize in person, deaths due to COVID-19, and mass hysteria (e.g. the toilet paper and hand sanitizing shortage), have all contributed to poor outcomes in an individual’s mental health. For some populations (e.g. underserved, minorities, persons identifying with the LBGTQIA+ community, etc.), additional challenges exist that prevent them from having their mental health needs met.

Barriers To Mental Health Services

The average delay between the onset of a mental health condition and treatment is an alarming 11 years. Can you imagine individuals with a heart condition, diabetes, or cancer waiting 11 years to get treatment? The delay in mental health services is evident. On average, less than half of those people who experienced a mental health condition in 2020 received mental health services. Many individuals run into barriers when reaching out for mental health services. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, Barriers include:

  • Stigma, especially for substance use disorders
  • Lack of awareness and knowledge of mental and substance use disorder
  • Lack of mental health professionals
  • Cultural beliefs about mental health
  • Inequalities
  • Inequities in services particularly in underserved and poorly served areas, and in some cases
  • Lack of financial resources or health insurance

Help is available, reach out to your medical provider, your health insurance, your local county mental health entity or dial 211 to obtain information on community resources.

Mental Health Facts

  • Around half the US population will meet criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life.
  • In 2020, there were an estimated 52.9 million adults (ages 18+) in the United States with a mental health condition. This number represented 21.0% of all U.S. adults.
    •     Only 46% of the 52.9 million adults received treatment.
  • Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of mental health condition (30.6%)
    •     Only 42.1% of 18-25 year olds received mental health services
  • Adults aged 26-49 years (25.3%) experienced a mental health condition
    •     Only 42.1 of 26-49 year olds received mental health services
  • Adults fifty (50) years and older had a prevalence rate of (14.5%) for mental health conditions
    •      6% of 50+ year olds received mental health services
  • The prevalence of any mental health conditions was higher among females (25.8%) than males (15.8%).
    •      2% of females and approximately 37.4 % of males received treatment for a mental health condition.

Statistics on Suicide

  • Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2019, there were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141).
  • In 2020 there were 1.2 Million suicide attempts reported in the U.S
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white me), followed by Native American/Alaska Natives, and Black males (12.6).
  • Females attempt suicide three times as often; women are also more likely to have suicidal thoughts. However, males are four times more likely to complete suicide as compared to females.
  • On average, there are 130 suicides per day.
  • In 2020, firearms accounted for 52.83% of all suicide deaths.
  • There is one suicide death for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.

If you are experiencing a crisis and need to speak to someone. Please Call:

County Crises Lines:

  • Merced County BHRS
    (209) 381-6819
  • Stanislaus County BHRH
    (209) 558-4600
  • San Joaquin BHRS
    (209) 468-8686 (Crisis)
    (209) 468—9370 (Helpline)

National Lines:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Suicide Prevention Hotline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    Beginning July 16, 2022, you may call or text 988

About GVHC’s Behavioral Health Department

At GVHC, our team of Behavioral Health Clinicians (BHC), Recovery Services Specialists, and Case Managers work in coordination with Medical Providers and Psychiatrists to treat Behavioral health conditions that include mental and substance use disorders. Our Medication-Assisted Treatment is also available for those patients wanting support with their dependence on opioids. Any provider can refer a patient for an evaluation with any of our BHC for mental or substance-use disorder conditions. Recovery Services Specialists (Substance Abuse Counselors) see patients exclusively for the treatment of a substance use disorder. Our Case Managers assist with linkage and referrals for a higher level of care and specialty services outside GVHC. For emerging situations, every BHC has two same-day appointments available for faster access to care.

GVHC Behavioral Health Staff 2022
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