The darkest recesses of the country’s mental health conversation came crashing down upon myself, our friends and family at work and at home this month. The sudden, shocking death of a friend and co-worker was an all too real reminder of the reality that is the quiet struggle of and for mental health.
I am the CEO of a healthcare consultancy that prides itself on the identification of new, innovative products, services and solutions that meaningfully enhance patient care. We distribute a mental health triage tool for physicians. We talk everyday about the importance of promoting mental health education and awareness. We did not recognize the struggle of one of our own right under our noses.
Our friend was an indispensable member of our executive team. He was also a selfless soul who helped the lives of thousands of others experiencing difficulties in their lives.
Always be kind to each other. Don’t forget or be afraid to listen. Take the time to learn the about the signs of mental illness. One in seventeen people in America lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder.
Fifty-seven percent of American’s experiencing mental health issues in a given year do not seek help – many because they don’t know how or believe they are alone in their struggle. Mental health treatment — therapy, medication, self-care — have made recovery a reality for countless people experiencing mental illness. Taking the first steps can be confusing or difficult. An individual might feel ashamed, too proud– even resentful. Having a trusted friend along the way can help.
Be an advocate for change. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, massive cuts to non-Medicaid state mental health spending have topped $1.6 billion. Many physicians do not want to make mental health part of their practices either because of the perceived expense, liability or belief the right tools are not available. Thirty-eight percent of people who attempt taking their own lives visit a family physician within the immediate month prior.
Let’s make solutions more available – starting by making ourselves part of the solution.
– Jon Boski, President and CEO of Medcillary