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 TN.gov/behavioral-health.