Community Mental Health: What It Is and Why It Is Important
As we become more aware of the factors that impact our mental well-being, we also notice an increase in specialists’ efforts to provide people with proper care and solutions. Community mental health services are part of these efforts and focus on providing specialized services outside of a hospital setting.
This way, people who don’t have the means (or knowledge) to ask for help from a mental health specialist will be able to access such services. Plus, community mental health services can provide educational support and consultations to local care providers and partners.
Furthermore, specialists who work with secure platforms like EHR for mental health have the chance to provide better insight into the mental well-being of the community they serve. They do so by collecting data from the field and using it to compile various reports and graphs that can offer a more accurate general view of the area.
Is Community Mental Health Necessary?
When it comes to mental health, we live in an era of discovery. The scientific community is still learning and discovering new aspects of what mental health is for the individual and the community.
However, the need for such a service is overwhelming. According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety at a global level.
So, as the world tries to recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, we need all the support we can get. Plus, community mental health services can be a positive factor in the development of collective mental health awareness and understanding. Specialists can identify early signs of mental illness, provide guidance so individuals will know how to navigate their problems, and spread awareness in the community so everyone involved will know how to cope.
This way, we help prevent people who suffer from untreated mental illnesses from being institutionalized, as it used to happen in the U.S. prior to the Community Mental Health Act of 1963. As such, people are able to get treatment where they live (when possible), which is an important factor in a successful recovery.
Who Are The Specialists Involved in Community Mental Health Centers?
In the U.S., there are around 2,700 operational community mental health centers reported in 2019. The centers are open to both children and adults in need of care and are serviced by a range of healthcare and mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and more.
Furthermore, these centers often collaborate with local care and health providers to connect with the community and integrate better.
Services People Can Access via Community Mental Health Centers
Most mental health centers provide outpatient services, such as:
- Regular screening for possible mental health issues
- Medication management,
- Emergency care
- Crisis interventions
- Day treatments or temporary hospitalization
- Substance abuse treatment
However, some centers are also involved in some non-traditional services such as educational and vocational guidance, consultation services for important local community members (clergy, school personnel, or social workers).
Overall, the main purpose of a community mental health center and its specialists is to provide support for the people in need of assistance and help educate locals on a wide range of mental health issues.
Mental health is a serious issue and everyone can be affected in one way or another. For instance, a disturbance of your sleep cycle can lead to an increase in anxiety levels. At the same time, constant exposure to a stream of negative news can trigger depressive episodes which can easily escalate if left unaddressed.
People need to understand how the media (online or traditional), the local community, and our overall lifestyle can impact their mental well-being. And this is why community mental health plays such an important role in today’s society.
Alan Higgins is an entrepreneur who regularly shares his thoughts about business and technology. An ardent mental health advocate, he swears by the calming power of his pet cats.