Mental Health Awareness Month – Helping Us Heal By Jill Jesso-White on May 19, 2021 in Community Health News Mental Health Awareness Month – Helping Us Heal May 19, 2021 • by Jill Jesso-White Community Health’s Behavioral Health Services for All Ages Rutland – “There isn’t any aspect of civilization where mental health doesn’t play a role in some part of everybody’s job or their roles in life,” said Christopher Chadwick, Community Health’s Behavioral Health Director. The past year has brought an elevated awareness of the importance of recognizing just how much of an impact our individual well being is affected by emotional and psychological wellness. May is Mental Health Awareness Month May is Mental Health Awareness month, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI). “Any time you can draw attention to mental health and increase awareness and make people talk about it have conversations with families and communities, it’s always helpful,” Chadwick said. “Especially if people are really talking about it and it is being incorporated into all aspects of our lives including looking at the way we bring mental health into the school system; how we work with the college system, with adults, with children; how we bring it into the workplace, mental health in the military,” he said. Mental health and behavioral health impact every aspect of our lives. You Are Not Alone The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month “You Are Not Alone” represents NAMI’s efforts to “emphasize that now more than ever we need to find ways to stay connected to our community. No one should feel alone or without the information, support or help they need.” Community Health has incorporated behavioral health care in the primary care services offered at all of its practices, including pediatrics and the nursing home service line. So, what is the difference between mental health care and behavioral health care? Mental health is primarily concerned with an individual’s psychological and biological well being and can be the result of a traumatic experience, grief, high stress or the result of a disorder caused by brain chemistry or genetics. It can come with a mental health diagnosis like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental health is one aspect of behavioral health which more broadly covers emotions, biology, habits and behaviors and how they impact your overall health. Behavioral health includes eating and drinking habits, exercise, as well as addictive behaviors such as substance abuse, eating disorders, gambling and sex addiction. “One of the reasons why we use the term behavioral health versus mental health is that mental health often comes with a stigma,” Chadwick said. “With behavioral health there is an openness where people can transition in and out of behavioral health services as their needs change.” “If we can keep behavioral health a focus in all aspects of our lives as a community and a nation we will heal and begin to treat ourselves with more kindness and more openness to address the mental health issues that we are suffering with,” he added. In 2020, Community Health saw an increase in demand for behavioral health services and expanded its telehealth capabilities, enabling the services to continue unhampered during the pandemic. If you have questions about behavioral health and mental health services, contact your Community Health primary care provider. All Community Health locations are open and accepting patients. Community Health is Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham, Community Health Pediatrics is in Rutland and Behavioral Health services are available at all of our locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open seven days a week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers. The mission of Community Health (Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region) is to improve the health and wellness of all people in the communities we serve by providing access to excellent medical and dental primary care regardless of any financial consideration.