Becoming aware of mental health issues

By: By Natalie Davis -

May is Mental Health Month and the the Anson County Health Department is supporting Mental Health Awareness by wearing green the entire month.

“Mental Health Month is a time planned to raise awareness and educate the public about the truth of living with mental illness and ways to manage mental health and wellness,” said Dinikia Savage, public health educator at the Health Department.

“As a former psychiatric technician, I fully understand mental health and the matters it involves,” she said. “I want to inform others that it is okay to seek assistance, and get the help that is needed without being judged or stigmatized.”

Savage said that mental health is an important part of overall health and wellbeing.

“Mental health refers to how we think, behave and feel,” Savage said. “An individual’s mental health can change over time from several things.”

For example, working long hours or caring for an ill relative may have an impact on a person’s mental health.

“Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States,” Savage said.

According to Savage, more than 50 percent of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness, or a mental disorder at some point of their life. In the United States, one in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. One in five children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a serious mental illness, and one in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

“There is no single cause for the development of a mental illness,” she said. “There are many things that can contribute to mental illness such as life experiences, ongoing medical conditions, biological reasons, alcohol or recreational drug use, and isolation.”

Suicide is often related to symptoms of mental illness.

Savage said suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death the United States and the second-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 34.

Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the United States for both youth and adults between the ages of 18 and 44.

Mental illness costs the United States about $193.2 billion per year.

There are more than 65.9 million physician office visits per year relating to mental disorders. In 2015, 75 percent of children between the ages of four and 17 received treatment for their mental disorders.

“Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of physical health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus,” Savage said.

Adults in the United States living with serious mental health illness also die 25 years earlier than others.

“Treatments and supportive services for mental and substance use disorders differ among each individual,” she said. “Treatment should be personalized to fit each individual’s needs.”

She stated that for many people with behavioral health problems, the most effective approach often involves a combination of counseling and medication. Supportive services, such as case or care management, can also play an important role in promoting health and recovery.

Some support services include:

• Specialty community behavioral health centers

• Substance use disorder rehabilitation programs

• Independent providers

• Hospitals

• Community health centers

• Mutual support groups and peer-run organizations

• Community-based organizations

• Inpatient service providers

• Primary care programs with integrated behavioral health services

• And a variety of other community settings

“The community should be aware that mental health is an actual illness, but there is also assistance and help that is provided to ensure illnesses and disorders are managed and treated,” Savage said. “The community can recommend services to those who might be in need of support, and learning to recognize symptoms is extremely important in situations involving mental health.”

The Health Department refers individuals in need of mental health services to Daymark Recovery Services located on Old Lilesville Road in Wadesboro.

Daymark serves individuals living with mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse problems.

The services provided include: crisis management, clinical assessments, outpatient individual therapy, outpatient group therapy, outpatient family therapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, substance abuse services, intensive in-home care, and case management.

Daymark Services has also ben invited to join the health fair being sponsored by the Anson County Health Department and United Healthcare May 25, from noon until 2 p.m.

The Anson County Health Department is also providing a free meditation session May 24, from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. for those interested.

“Mindfulness meditation helps ease mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said. “Meditating changes your brain and the way your body responds to stress.”

To schedule an appointment for Daymark Recovery Services, call 704-794-6588 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. They are located at 704 Old Lilesville Road in Wadesboro.

The Health Department is located at 110 Ashe Street in Wadesboro.

For an immediate crisis response 24 hours a day, seven days a week, contact the Mobile Crisis Management at 1-877-626-1772.

For overall information, contact Dinikia Savage at the Anson County Health Department at 704-994-3342.


By Natalie Davis