A recent study on veterans has applications that could easily transfer to civilians with mental disorders like depression and PTSD as well. The study showed that enhanced primary care which included telephone therapy options, care managers with specialized training, and other primary care interventions could improve the outcome for veterans who were suffering from PTSD or depression. Researchers involved with the study were associated with RAND Corporation, the Department of Defense Deployment Health Clinical Center, and RTI International. The researchers determined that those who went to a primary care clinic with PTSD and depression experienced fewer symptoms over the next year and had better mental health. The study results were recently published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal in the online edition.
Dr. Charles Engel was the lead author of the study on mental disorders and enhanced primary care. According to Dr. Engel “Although the improvements were modest, the reach of the program can be large and has the potential to bring more people under a high-quality treatment umbrella sooner. These findings suggest that the military health system might use this strategy to extend the reach of mental health care and reduce time to first treatment for PTSD and depression.” Dr. Engel went on to explain “Our findings are consistent with what has been observed in nonmilitary health care settings. This approach results in better outcomes and improves access to high-quality care. This is particularly important for a population that has a demonstrated need for mental health services. The results support the idea that high-quality mental health care can be provided in primary care settings. While many military members are reluctant to seek out mental health specialists, they are more willing to receive primary medical care. So this is a good way to encourage more people to receive mental health care, while also improving the quality of mental health services for military members.”
Mental health courts are starting to appear in many areas in the USA, and in other parts of North America as well, but what are these courts and what do they have to do with mental disorders? Many people who get caught up in the legal system have serious mental health issues, and these issues are not addressed in the jails and prisons. Mental health courts offer sentencing flexibility which ensures that the individual received needed mental health treatment instead of simply being incarcerated. Evidence has shown that without treatment mental illness typically becomes more severe. Incarceration is not the answer because in most settings the best possible treatment for mental health issues are not offered. Mental health courts were started to try and address the needs of mentally ill individuals who enter the criminal justice system.
Mental health courts offer diversion from the usual criminal justice system and sentencing options when an individual defendant has one or more mental disorders and the court feels that jail or prison would not be in the best interests of justice. A lack of mental health treatment opportunities for many people can lead to criminal acts being committed, and the individual involved needs help with mental illness. Mental health courts can be very effective at providing treatment options and integrating the mentally ill person back into the community rather than simply locking them up and failing to provide treatment for their mental disorders. These special courts are not available in all areas but many larger cities have implemented them in order to reduce the number of people incarcerated and provide mental health treatment to those who need it.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression or similar mental disorders there are some things that you should always avoid saying. These phrases and responses can be very harmful and cause your loved one to suffer even more pain and other negative emotions.
1. All you need is ……. This response can be especially harmful and damaging because you are minimizing the experience that the person is having. Someone who is depressed does not want to be that way, but they can not change their emotions and thoughts. Refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation can make things worse instead of better.
2. Think about people who have it worse than you do. This is a response that basically says the person with mental disorders like depression chooses to feel and think the way that they do. If this condition was voluntary no one would ever be depressed. Wealth, material things, and even love from friends and family alone can not make depression go away.
3. I know what you are feeling because one time I was depressed too. Just because you felt sad when a favorite pet died or you had a rough patch when things didn’t go your way this is not the same as being clinically depressed. Comparing a brief period of sadness to profound depression is like comparing apples and cars, it is not possible because they are two completely different things.
Someone who is depressed needs professional help, not tough talk or fake sympathy. If you can not say something supportive it may be better to say nothing at all.
Approximately 5.9% of the population in the USA, or 14 million Americans, have borderline personality disorder. When all forms of mental disorders are calculated the percentage of the population that is affected is much higher. Statistics show that 20% of patients hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital has BPD, and 10% of those who engage in outpatient mental health treatment have this condition as well. With statistics and numbers like these it is rare for someone not to have a family member or friend who has BPD or another one of the possible mental disorders. In spite of this mental illness still carries a stigma, and some are ashamed to admit that they need help or that someone they know and care about needs treatment.
It is possible to detect signs of mental disorders, including borderline personality disorder, so that the individual can get the help and treatment that they need. Some of the most common symptoms of BPD include:
Constantly overreacting, exaggerates on a regular basis.
Unstable relationships with family, friends, and significant others. Because the individual with BPD are often angry or even violent this can impair relationships and lead to deep feelings of hurt and mistrust.
People who have borderline personality disorder have a distorted self image of themselves, with a feeling of low self worth and very poor self esteem. This can cause depression and mood swings which only make things worse.
People with this mental disorder tend to be reckless, engaging in impulsive decision making and acting without any concern for their safety or the safety of others.