Connect with us


Access to mental health care is improving | News

According to data launched by Mental Health America in its annual “State of Mental Health in America” report, Kentucky ranked sixteenth within the nation in entry to mental health care.

The report included rankings and findings in a number of areas of mental health from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

That rating is the very best amongst southern states, far surpassing Kentucky’s regional neighbors. Second-best within the south is Oklahoma at No. 28, adopted by No. 35 Louisiana, No. 37 Virginia, No. 38 North Carolina, No. 40 Arkansas, No. 43 South Carolina, No. 45 Tennessee, No. 47 Mississippi, No. 48 Georgia, No. 49 Florida, No. 50 Alabama and No. 51 Texas.

The rankings embrace data resembling the share of adults with any mental sickness who didn’t obtain remedy, these reporting an unmet want, those that are uninsured and people with a cognitive incapacity who couldn’t see a physician due to prices.

Gretchen Roof is the vp of medical providers at Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah. She mentioned a number of the widespread boundaries to mental health care are boundaries present in different points of on a regular basis life.

“One of the barriers for people that I have found are just the basic barriers,” she mentioned. “Not everybody has a car, so transportation to and from an appointment is a real challenge. Some people work one or two jobs, so they don’t have 9-to-5 schedules. Not everybody is blessed to have a job where they can just say, ‘I’m going to take two hours off and go to an appointment.’

“One of the things that I’ve seen evolve over the years — and I started working here in 2000 and I worked in a private psychiatric hospital before then — is the whole ideas of having many doors, many pathways to care, making it as easy as possible to get treatment.”

Roof mentioned that individuals coming to FRBH generally is a walk-in emergency, the place they’ll see knowledgeable as an emergency appointment with out having been a consumer beforehand.

“One of the other nice things is that if you call and have made an appointment, when we’re talking to you on the phone, we’re triaging that from our perspective,” she mentioned. “Do we need to say, ‘Come on in today’ or can we just arrange an appointment that fits your schedule?”

Roof mentioned that the stigma surrounding mental health points appears to be lessening among the many common public, serving to to take away that barrier to entry to mental health.

“It takes a lot of courage for somebody to say, ‘I think I’m depressed’ or ‘I think I’m hallucinating,’ ” she mentioned. “Imagine telling your friends or your family that. It’s even harder to walk through the door of a mental health center.

“…I think that (stigma) is pretty reduced now. You have so many celebrities coming out and saying, ‘I have body dysmorphic issues’ or ‘I have depression’ or ‘I’m a survivor of suicide’ or ‘I’ve struggled with addiction all my life.’ So, I think that when you see people you admire in the public and they’re acknowledging something, that takes away the shame. I think it’s fantastic that people do that.”

Roof mentioned that persons are extra educated now in regards to the signs of mental health points, serving to them to decide in the event that they want to search a mental health skilled.

“They know what depression probably feels like,” she mentioned. “If you are hearing or seeing things, or responding to stimuli that other people don’t experience, you know that there’s an issue.

“Getting help, I think, sometimes, is about a family member or friend. What I say is: Don’t necessarily look for a specific symptom, but look for a change in somebody. Somebody, who is usually quiet, being more euphoric could be early mania or bipolar. Somebody, who is usually active, being more reclusive and not going out much, looking sad and not caring about the way they look — we all see those and know those are signs of a mental health issue, but saying to that person, ‘It looks like you’re having some struggles. Do you want to talk about that?’ and not just ‘If you’re having a problem, let me know’ — really communicating ‘I’m OK with that conversation; I want to help you.’ ”

Four Rivers Behavioral Health has a disaster line that connects individuals with mental health professionals who can suggest sources to take care of an individual’s mental health points. That toll-free quantity is 1-800-592-3980.

Roof additionally referenced the present Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 1-800-273-TALK(-8255).

“The best thing that’s coming out — I think it’s on July 16 — is a number called 9-8-8,” she mentioned. “You don’t have to know 1-800-LIFELINE or certainly one of these cellphone numbers anymore. All you might have to do is dial 9-8-8, very like we dial 9-1-1 for the police, and that can take you straight to Lifeline or take you to a disaster line.

“It’s fantastic. We have been in the planning stages at the state level for probably six months to a year. We really expect that our call volume — which ranges from around 350 a month — will go to around 450. That will be around our norm.”

Eric Friedlander, the Secretary of the Health and Family Services Cabinet, mentioned one of many biggest methods of opening entry to mental health care was Medicaid enlargement.

“In 2013, there were about 800,000 folks who received their health care coverage through Medicaid,” he mentioned. “Today, it’s doubled; it’s about 1.6 million. We have a relatively low uninsured rate for a state our size and location. I think that’s a big deal (for access to mental health care).”

According to that very same Mental Health America report, Kentucky ranks second within the nation for uninsured individuals receiving mental health care, with solely 4.2% of adults with any mental sickness being uninsured. The nationwide common is 11.1%.

“I think that’s the thing that drove our overall ranking (for access to mental health care),” Friedlander mentioned. “If you look at things like folks with depression and mental health cases, Kentucky, unfortunately, ranks pretty high there, too. We have a lot of folks who have behavioral health issues.

“Like recently in western Kentucky, after the tornadoes and thunderstorms rolled through, it causes anxiety. We’ve seen it too often.”

Friedlander mentioned that Medicaid is most likely the biggest payer of behavioral health care in Kentucky.

“If it weren’t for Medicaid, we wouldn’t even be close to the mental health system we have now,” he mentioned. “We have a long way to go, but it makes access much better.”

Friedlander mentioned one other consider having higher entry to mental health care was opening up TeleHealth, which permits individuals entry to a mental health care supplier over the cellphone, pill or pc from dwelling. He mentioned that actually helped present entry in the course of the coronary heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of times, transportation is a giant issue in Kentucky,” Friedlander mentioned. “Being able to open up TeleHealth the way that we have really helped us and helped a lot of folks get access.

“Also, during the pandemic, we opened up an easier path to get Medicaid for a little bit. It was called presumptive eligibility. About 100,000 people signed up for it. We’ve cut back on it now, but it was important during the pandemic.”

Friedlander agreed with Roof that the stigma surrounding mental health care is lessening.

“There’s no stigma with ‘I’ve got a bad heart’ or there’s no stigma with ‘I need to get a knee replaced’ — a physical illness,” he mentioned. “That’s really how we should think about behavioral health. We’ve got a long way to go, and part of it is that stigma.

“There are more tools available now. We’ve learned in the field a lot of different things over the past 20 years, and we’ve made a lot of strides. If you were feeling physically bad, you wouldn’t hesitate to go to a doctor, so if there’s a mental health thing going on, we shouldn’t hesitate to see a mental health professional. It’s the same thing.”

For details about Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah, go to or name 270-442-1771 or 1-866-442-1771.

Information about Mental Health America may be discovered at Rankings may be discovered at that website by clicking the “State of Mental Health in America” hyperlink within the higher left portion of the homepage.

Source link