Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Health

If it was cancer, would they tell you to get over it?

“I saw that on a billboard in the 1990’s, and it continues to be a question that is worth asking. As healthcare professionals, we should be involved in stopping the stigma towards those suffering from mental illness,” said Charles Aasand, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Portneuf Medical Center.

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of mental illness among adults was increasing. In 2018 alone, 19% of adults experienced a mental illness. That’s an increase of 1.5 million people since 2017. Now more than ever, mental health continues to be a serious problem in our country.

One of the major hurdles for individuals struggling with mental health is stigma.

“Reducing the stigma around mental health struggles is crucial - that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help,” said Kathleen Erwin, MD, Psychiatrist at Portneuf. “We as healthcare professionals can provide a great service to our patients by spending more time assessing and supporting their mental health needs. That’s what we strive to do at Portneuf.”

Portneuf Behavioral Health Services is comprised of a large team of care specialists. Psychiatrists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses, Behavioral Health Technicians, Social Workers, Recreational Therapists and secretarial support all work together to care for members in our community who are experiencing mental health crisis’s.

Our teams focus on assessment, medication management, diagnostic education and coping skills. Patients can expect to meet with providers and therapists, both individually and in groups. Our programs include outside support from Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and we maintain the highest quality safety standards and patient privacy.

Behavioral Health is a specialty area, but their services have major benefits for a wide array of patients who may find themselves inside the doors of our hospital. As a facility, Portneuf strives to provide complete wellness from head to toe. Mental health is a major part of that.

To learn more about Behavioral Health Services at Portneuf, visit portneuf.org/services/behavioral-health.