“There is no health without mental health; mental health is too important to be left to the professionals alone, and mental health is everyone’s business.” -Vikram Patel
Tammie Alexander, I.M.P.A.C.T. Program Coordinator at Coal Country Community Health Center discusses the importance of mental health and the benefits of the I.M.P.A.C.T. Program at CCCHC.
Why is mental health essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being?
Mental health is important to our overall health because it affects everything. It affects our ability to cope, accept change, problem solve, and deal with others. Mental health affects our mood and our happiness. In order to stay physically healthy, you need to take care of your mental health.
According to the Alliance of Mental Health: A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others. If you have — or think you might have — a mental illness, the first thing you must know is that you are not alone. Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people do not like to, or are scared to, talk about them. However:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
How can we support ourselves or others if we notice warning signs?
Many times, things we can do for ourselves are also things we can do for others who are struggling as well.
- Asking for help for yourself or asking someone else if they need help.
- Connections to others are very beneficial to our own wellbeing and being the connections for someone else.
- Physical activity is good for yourself and encouraging others to be active for their wellbeing.
- Kindness to yourself and being kind to others.
- Be present by practicing mindfulness and being mindful and present for others.
- Gratitude for yourself and others.
What is the I.M.P.A.C.T. Program and how does it benefit the children/families in our communities?
The Coal Country Community Health Center I.M.P.A.C.T. Program focuses on Integrating Mental Health Physical Health And Continuity of Care Together. The I.M.P.A.C.T. Program was started to provide accessibility and convenience for students to get Mental Health Services without leaving the school during a school day. CCCHC has a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Psychologist who provide counseling services to the students as well as, education for prevention awareness programs, case management, and services for substance abuse and tobacco cessation. By providing these services in the schools, it cuts down on school absences and it creates an opportunity to have the ability to access these services, which may not otherwise happen because of barriers.
The program accepts referrals from school counselors, youth bureau, social services, public health, school professionals, parents, or the students themselves. Although the I.M.P.A.C.T. Program currently provides a lot of mental health services, we have had our Licensed Registered Dietician visit the schools and CCCHC continues to work on providing more physical health services at the schools as well. Recently, CCCHC hired another full-time provider, Dan Foster, LMSW.