Take Charge of Your Health During Mental Health Awareness Month
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans experience mental illness in a given year. Mental Health Awareness Month, recognized in May, is a good time for people to reflect on and, if necessary, take action toward their own mental health.
MidMichigan Health recommends the first step is to find the right specialist. Health care providers are a good resource to help their patients find a specialist and make the first appointment. If a patient feels as though he or she needs to see someone right away, it’s okay to speak up and ask. In addition, if the first specialist isn’t a right fit, continue looking.
“When a patient goes to their first mental health appointment, they should be ready to talk about health history and current experiences,” said Kathy Dollard, Psy.D., L.P., director of behavioral health at MidMichigan Health. “Patients may be asked to fill out a questionnaire describing their mental health experience, and should discuss treatment options with their provider so that they understand what they need to do.”
It is also recommended to ask questions during appointments. It can be helpful to write down a list of questions ahead of time so that nothing is forgotten.
In addition, Dollard encourages patients to stay involved in their care. “Keep a wellness log and monitor your progress,” she suggests. “Stick with it; many therapies and medications take time to work.”
“It’s key for patients to find a routine that works for them,” Dollard added. “That includes a healthy diet, exercise and regular sleep patterns. Stay away from drugs and alcohol, and be realistic and mindful of your needs and limits. And, through it all, stay positive. Surround yourself with positive messages, people and activities.”
MidMichigan Health offers a variety of mental health programs, including psychiatric inpatient care, outpatient care, office-based care and geriatric programs.
Those interested in learning more may visit www.midmichigan.org/mentalhealth.