One in four American adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Studies show that when a person has a mental illness coupled with a physical disorder, the combination seriously impacts the effects and treatments of each issue. Dr. Karen Rhea, chief medical officer of Centerstone, joined us on a recent episode of Community Healthy Matters to discuss the link between behavioral and physical health, and how integrated care works to treat both. View her interview here.

Of Tennessee’s approximately 6.2 million residents, close to 246,000 adults live with serious mental illness and about 66,000 children live with serious mental health conditions. Because these issues are so incredibly common, behavioral healthcare is growing in importance. Some of the more common disorders are clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

The clinical field widely recognizes the relationship between mental and physical health disorders. For example, if a patient with a heart disease also has depression, the risk of serious disability or early death is substantially greater. Their chance of recovery is lower due to depression’s many symptoms, including increased sadness, decrease or increase of appetite, difficulty sleeping and higher risk of suicide.

Dr. Rhea discusses the importance of integrated care, which means treating physical health disorders and behavioral health issues at the same time. The integrated approach allows for increased and improved care, reduced costs due to efficiency, eliminated unnecessary treatments and improved overall patient health.

A common misconception is that people with mental health issues simply have to try harder or “get over it.” If your mental health issues are persistent and significant, you need treatment.

If you or someone you love is dealing with mental health issues, you should know you are not alone. Contact your physician or, if you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call Mobile Crisis Services at 855-CRISIS-1.

Learn more about mental health services in Tennessee at

Did you know hearing loss affects not just the person with the hearing impairment? It also affects friends and family, and hearing loss can result in social isolation or withdrawal, frustration or depression.

If you’re having trouble hearing people on the other end of the phone, have to ask people to repeat themselves often, or find yourself cupping your hand or leaning in to hear, have your hearing checked.

If you do have hearing loss:

  • Don’t try to hide it – hearing loss is a medical condition that is treatable
  • Wear your hearing aids
  • Plan for noisy environments. Position yourself where most of the noise is behind you, such as sitting in the front row at a movie or church
  • And be patient with yourself

To learn more about hearing health, visit

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that the suicide rate is, in fact, the lowest in December. The rate peaks in the spring and the fall. This pattern has not changed in recent years. The holiday suicide myth supports misinformation about suicide that might ultimately hamper prevention efforts.

Shorter days, crowded malls, the need to please and months of diet-busting food… Taken together, winter and the holiday season can be tough to navigate. Dr. Howard Burley from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services discusses seasonal stress, anxiety and depression.

According to a recent study, more than one out of every six adults in the U.S. is providing personal assistance for family members with disabilities or other care needs. Jennifer Abernathy, Executive Director of the Tennessee Respite Coalition, talks about the challenges of caregiving as well as respite care options and resources.

Shorter days, crowded malls, the need to please and months of diet-busting food… Taken together, winter and the holiday season can be tough to navigate. Dr. Howard Burley from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services discuses seasonal stress, anxiety and depression.


Did You Know getting regular exercise is important for the continued health of breast cancer survivors?

Physical activity can help lessen certain side effects of treatment, such as fatigue and depression, and has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence and improve survival. It’s important for good health for all of us to live an active lifestyle, and now breast cancer survivors have even greater motivation to make regular exercise a habit. To learn more on maintaining a healthy weight and diet, visit

As we age, it’s important to know how to live well, access services, and remain active and involved. Janet Jernigan of FiftyForward talks about how to continue to make the most of life from age 50 on.

April’s topics include incontinence, Alzheimer’s Disease and Arthitis.

Men and women may experience incontinence – the lack of bladder or bowel control – and the worries and embarrassment that come with it. Dr. Barry Jarnagin of the Cool Springs Incontinence Institute discusses the causes, symptoms and treatments of incontinence.

As baby boomers continue to age, there is an increased need for Alzheimer’s education and research. Andrew Sandler from Abe’s Garden – an Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Center of Excellence – talks about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

More than 1.2 million Tennesseans suffer from arthritis. Arthritis, osteoarthritis and other forms of joint pain can reduce mobility and limit participation in daily activities. Dr. William Kurtz from Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance discusses joint pain and when it is appropriate to consider joint replacement surgery.

Did you know for every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are 10 to 12 others directly impacted?

Family, co-workers and neighbors are often the primary caregivers for those suffering from the disease. Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be daunting, but caregivers are not alone: the Alzheimer’s Association provides support groups, online resources and a 24/7 helpline. Call 1.800.272.3900 to receive support and reliable information on Alzheimer’s.