Today, the American Psychological Association is hosting a Mental Health Month Blog Party. It seems like a great idea. First, blog parties are important social media events. They are opportunities to connect with other blogs interested in similar issues. I’m hoping to find some great new blogs as a result of this blog party. Mental Health Month is likewise a great idea. The APA’s blog post talks about the importance of good mental health and trying to reduce the stigma of getting help when you need it.
It ties nicely into a few other areas that I’m interested in here at CHC. A couple of days ago, NPR ran a story, Shop For A Psychotherapist To Avoid The Lemons. It spoke about interviewing therapists to find evidence-based therapies suited to the issues being tackled. If anyone is shopping for a therapist, this is a good article to read beforehand.
Mental health is an important part of CHC. One of the first phrases I learned when I started here was the “warm hand off”. Many health issues are rooted in behavior. If we can find ways to adjust our behavior, we may find better ways of addressing our health situations than ignoring them, or relying simply on pills. On top of that, learning that you have a health condition can bring about additional emotional upheaval.
I’ve been struggling with hypertension for nearly two decades. When my doctor first suggested that perhaps I should consider medication for my blood pressure, I was pretty bummed. Was I clinically depressed? Did I suffer from some episodic depression? I don’t know. I didn’t find a therapist at that point. Instead, I reluctantly started taking blood pressure medication and spent time feeling sorry for myself.
CHC , as a patient centered medical home, looks at a more complete picture of health and wellness. If I had been going to CHC at the time, a member of the medical team focused on me would have observed my reaction and introduced me to one of the therapists on staff. They would have walked over to the therapist with me, made a face to face introduction and a “warm handoff”. My medical team member would have explained to the therapist that I’m having difficulty controlling my blood pressure and suggested that I speak with the therapist about changes in behavior that would make it easier to control my blood pressure, as well as perhaps exploring different ways I could react to my changing health.
My blood pressure is now better under control. I’ve made peace with some of the health changes that are happening in my life as I age. Perhaps this comes from when I went through some difficult times in my life and received invaluable health from mental health professionals. One of the things I learned through some of my trials and tribulations is that I’m not alone in the problems I’ve faced. Many people have struggled with high blood pressure, with loss and emotional upheaval. We can learn from one another know that we aren’t alone in our issues. That is something a good therapist can help us with. On a simpler level, it is also something that a good blog party can help with, so join the blog party. Tell your story and spread the word about the importance of good mental health and finding help when you need to.