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By Darrick Brown, MDiv, Mental Health Awareness Coordinator
I am genuinely thankful that mental health and the need for mental health to be addressed has picked up steam. Our living systems, employment, and relationships have partially come into the light of what it means to partake in them healthily. Mind you, I said, they have come into the light partially. More mental health challenges and renovations are needed more than ever. and I appreciate that.
But there are still a lot of areas not being readily discussed in mental health. They don’t appear as standard to be addressed. Our daily consumption of media reminds us that it’s okay not to be OK, depression doesn’t define us, anxiety is about what hasn’t happened, self-care is the best care, and checking on our strong friends; some topics that aren’t as readily acknowledged or trendy get ignored. Please understand me; all those previously mentioned topics need to be discussed. I am happy they are being addressed.
But there is a lot to be discussed, however. Recently we had the Mental Health Parity Act passed that creates a Now or Comp waiver that enables people who suffer a loss of services after 18 to receive some measure of care. The bill also helps emergency services triage calls and decide when to team up with mental health workers. Another under-discussed measure that is coming to pass is also the Counseling Compact. Once signed into law by states in the agreement, an effort would allow people to receive treatment across state lines.
Topics like spiritual integration with mental health practices also are beginning to be not only discussed but practiced. Understanding the underlining of self-discovery and how one’s spiritual compass underlines that insight is impactful. At the same time, emotional awareness and one’s spiritual idea of healing significantly impact the services delivered to a client. While therapy and religion/spirituality can be seen as rivals in the mental and emotional space, spiritual integration offers a chance for the two to reconcile.
Some news is not new but rather not as discussed in popular media. Topics such as neuropsychology and studies of how the brain performs. Understanding the neuropsychological impacts on the brain can inform treatment, care, and facility plans to handle specific mental illnesses and disabilities. These advances in neuropsychology can help us understand real expectations in treatment. Neuropsychological tests can help us understand how our brain is potentially held back from its full potential.
Autism or autism spectrum disorder speaks to an extended range of mental health challenges that impact one’s behaviors, social skills, speaking ability, and possible nonverbal communication. It’s estimated that autism affects 1 in 44 children. Some children with autism appear to exhibit almost genius-level skills in one area while being what some would consider heavily impaired in others. Both genetic and environmental factors impact autism. And while Autism is a part of the mental health discussion, its rarely discussed.
Like anyone looking to understand himself better, the world we live in, or the impact of my mental health on my daily living, these topics still don’t regularly come across my daily diet of media intake. Regardless they are just as important as discussing any other matter of mental health or wellness. For this May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we will be discussing these under-discussed topics at the North Fulton Mental Health Collaborative. We hope to be a healthy supplement to your diet of mental health news and discussion. It will take place on the last Thursday of this month, from 10 am to 11:30 am. I hope you will join us as we continue the journey to making mental health a regular appetizing topic for consumption that spurs movement. Hopefully, after this discussion, you’ll question, “What else is in my diet?”