Risky Business Theme for Mental Health Month is May

Mahaska Health Partnership

Highlights Importance of Knowing Unhealthy Behaviors and Habits

MAHASKA COUNTY – Mental Health issues affect all of society in some way, shape or form. The truth is, you are more likely to encounter someone in an emotional or mental health crisis than someone having a heart attack.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in 25 adults in the United States experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits that person from participating in major life activities. Approximately one in five youth, ages 12 to 18, experiences a severe mental disorder at some point in their life.

Because of these statistics, Mahaska Health Partnership Psychiatrist Ron Berges, DO, says it’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. “People experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem,” Dr. Berges explained.

May is National Mental Health Month. Dr. Berges said that this year’s theme, Risky Business, is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses.

“Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive Internet use, excessive spending or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis,” Dr. Berges explained.

“It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more. We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness—and do so in a compassionate, judgment-free way. When we engage in prevention and early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early—and provide effective treatment.”

If you are looking to help someone you know who suffers from mental illness, or you want to learn more about signs and symptoms, Mahaska Health Partnership Behavioral Health Services offers free classes on Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid. These eight-hour classes are intended for teachers, family members, caregivers, ministers and anyone else who wants to understand more about mental illness.

“Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants learn to support those going through a mental health challenge,” Dr. Berges stressed.

The next Youth Mental Health First Aid class is set for Friday, June 9, and the next Mental Health First Aid Class is Friday, July 14. Both classes are being held on the MHP campus and are free, but pre-registration is required. Class size is 15 to 30 people and MHP is willing to bring either of the classes to an organization or church group for free. To learn more or to register for either class, call 641.672.3159.

Locally, MHP Behavioral Health Services employs therapists and psychiatric providers specializing in family, children and youth issues. They are open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with emergency services that include psychiatric consultations. You can call for an appointment at 641.672.3159. If the person is in imminent danger to himself or others, call 911.

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Posted by on May 6 2017. Filed under Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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