Debunking Mental Health Myths With ADAMH Providers - ADAMH Board of Franklin County

Debunking Mental Health Myths With ADAMH Providers

During Mental Health Awareness Month, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) asked several experts in our provider network to debunk common myths about mental health. Here's what they had to say:


Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health issue.

Fact: There may be times when you feel there is nothing you can do, especially if you don’t understand that mental illness — from anxiety and depression to severe and persistent mental illness — is in fact an illness. What you cannot do is ignore it, deny it or be ashamed of it. Don’t succumb to media stereotypes and misnomers. Mental illness is not bad behavior, stubbornness or other anecdotal or ill-conceived definitions. There are things you can do. First and foremost is to become educated about mental illness and your role as a family caregiver to help your loved one move toward a path to recovery.

NAMI Franklin County’s Family-to-Family Education Program can help you meet the predictable and erratic challenges you may face when you love and care for someone with a mental health condition. Family-to-Family classes instruct through informal lectures, discussions and exercises about major mental illnesses and medications; crisis management and treatment; empathy; how to communicate with your loved one — which can be difficult when they are symptomatic, and so much more. To complement Family-to-Family education, NAMI Franklin County offers multiple weekly Family Support Groups and the Mentor program. - Karen Cousins, program director, NAMI Franklin County


Myth: You only need to take care of your mental health if you have a mental health condition.

Fact: The biggest argument to disprove this “fact” is the partnership between ADAMH and Directions For Youth and Families. Directions partners with Worthington, South-Western and Columbus City schools to provide prevention services to students who may not need ongoing services, but benefit from a few group sessions or individual check-ins. Throughout the school year I provide prevention services to individual students and groups of students who needed assistance with self-regulation or topics such as anger, peer conflict and coping with stress.

These students needed assistance but did not have ongoing concerns that warranted our three to six-month length of stay-in services. Their problems were just as valid, but they did not have mental health conditions. Providing students with needed services in the moment gives them the skills to prevent them from needing ongoing services. They may not have had a mental health condition at the time, but had experienced hardships that benefitted from additional support. If we only take care of our mental health once we have a mental health condition, we may be missing key skills and resources that help us improve our mental health. - Megan Davenport, school-based clinician, DFYF


Myth: Mental health is only for people with severe problems.

Fact: When we think in that way, we would never admit to being nervous before giving a talk to coworkers, or giving a presentation in school. We would be hesitant to tell a friend or family member that they may have hurt our feelings. Do any of these scenarios ring a bell? A mental health issue becomes just that when it affects our mood, our sleep or appetite or makes us anxious, irritable or depressed. I treat people with depression from loss of a job or loved one and I treat people with depression from being excluded in plans with a friend. All people from time to time have mental health issues. Their pain is as real to them as yours or mine is to us.

At Concord Counseling Services ... we assess the client and look to their strengths to help them heal. They sometimes apologize for not having a “serious problem," but we assure them that if something is bothering them we will meet them where they are and give them the most caring and professional help that we can. Whether a client functions very well or has multiple issues that are overwhelming, they will be treated with positive regard and dignity. Our other departments, including case management, respite, vocational services, permanent supportive housing, prevention services in the schools and medication management also follow the directive of “See the person, not the illness," and give our clients stellar services as well. - Barbara Blair-Karr, therapy services manager, Concord Counseling Services


Myth: People with strong support networks don’t need therapy.

Fact: As many of us have come to learn over the past four years, feeling as though we are part of a community is important in maintaining our mental health. If we don’t feel a level of belonging and support from those around us, we may struggle to feel a sense of connection and safety in our lives. That’s why having strong support networks and being part of a community, is oftentimes the foundation of protecting our mental well-being. However, even those who have a strong sense of community and social support can still struggle with their mental health. Just because you've built a home on a solid foundation doesn’t mean it isn’t susceptible to damage when a strong storm hits. Sometimes you have to get extra help from others because our loved ones aren’t always the experts at providing that care.

At PrimaryOne Health, we understand that can mean that you need some additional support from time to time. We approach each individual as a “whole person,” both emotionally and physically. Whether that's seeing one of our behavioral health clinicians for counseling short-term or following your medical appointments, seeing one of our Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners for medication management, or linkage to other social service resources. We try our best to meet all your needs, not just your medical concerns. - Samantha Yarnell, behavioral health clinician, PrimaryOne

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