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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness MonthEvery year, millions of Americans face the complexities and challenges of living with a mental disorder. Those without family or a support system face an even more difficult battle – struggling with a behavioral health diagnosis alone.  

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health embraces, and actively advocates for, comprehensive behavioral healthcare for our nation’s children, adolescents and adults.  

We are proud to join individuals and organizations across the country to recognize and champion May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Observed since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month brings increased understanding and education related to this important issue through media outreach, events and mental health screenings. The week of May 3-9 is earmarked specifically as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week because providing treatment and access to appropriate care – at the earliest possible time – is essential to a child’s healthy development. 

Focusing on whole-person health

Developments in the behavioral healthcare field are producing some optimism in the face of funding and access challenges. As a result, the effort to integrate behavioral healthcare and primary care – or whole person health – is becoming increasingly important for the following reasons:

  • Research is confirming what clinicians and healthcare providers have known for some time: good mental health is a critical facet of overall good health. 
  • When behavioral healthcare and primary care are integrated, the stigma that has burdened mental health care and treatment diminishes.
  • Scientific and medical advances are finding that the brain, and issues with brain development, are linked directly to an individual’s mental health. 

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marilyn Benoit is encouraged by medical research and advances that translate into better treatment.  

“What we learn from recent and ongoing advances in brain research, and brain development, will enhance and focus diagnosis, treatment and prevention within behavioral healthcare,” she explained. “Importantly, those advances will also aid and inform parenting, teaching and community services.”

Sobering facts about mental illness

Mental disorders take an enormous toll on Americans’ health, adversely impacting life quality and length, as well as work productivity. In fact, depression, anxiety and mood disorders have the greatest impact on Americans’ health, according to claims data from more than 40 million Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield members.  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says approximately one in 25 American adults experience a serious mental disorder in a given year. This includes individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depressive disorders and other illnesses. In addition, one in five youth, ages 13 to 18, will experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their lives.  

To learn more, visit www.nami.org.

Devereux offers innovative programs

For more than a century, Devereux has been a compelling voice in the support of social and emotional health for all individuals. We provide innovative programs and services for children, adolescents and adults with emotional and behavioral disorders in community-based and residential settings. Devereux also offers training, research and resources to school systems, government agencies, early childhood programs, other provider organizations and community-based systems of care.  

“Everyone should take time to learn about the symptoms of brain disorders, and Mental Health Awareness Month is a wonderful opportunity to begin that process,” added Dr. Benoit. “Knowledge, awareness and treatment will make a significant difference in the successful management of brain disorders – and recovery.” 

To learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and our legacy of helping individuals, families and communities in need, click here.

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