5 Ways Access to Behavioral Health Services Improves Our Community

June 17, 2013

Behavioral health services are not just for people who are living with a mental health condition; they are for the entire community. Although you may not have a mental illness, you are likely to know someone who does, whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbor, or child. If we come together as a group and provide access to these much-needed services, the whole community will reap the benefits. Here are five reasons why:

Behavioral Health Services and Community

1. Mental illness affects everyone

Anyone can be diagnosed with a mental illness at any time. Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you or to someone you love. Behavioral health services can benefit the entire community, because we are all in this together: mental health affects everyone in some way, be it large or small.

2. Positive Contributions

When someone with a mental health disorder has access to treatment, they have the chance to blossom into a healthier, happier person. Counselors work with them to identify and develop their strengths, instilling confidence and perhaps enabling them to return to the workforce. The more healthy people we have contributing to the community, the stronger and better we can all become.

3. Education

Education is the key to change. Behavioral health services can educate medical professionals, people with a mental illness, family members, and the general community. When we understand what mental illness actually means, we can help each other cope. Perhaps more importantly, education helps diminish the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, promoting harmony, understanding, and acceptance.

4. Support

If you are dealing with a mental illness for the first time, you might not know where to start or who to turn to. When there is open access to behavioral health services, anyone in the community can receive support and help. This may come in the form of a consultation, one-on-one counseling, or support groups. It’s not just the person with a mental health disorder who can benefit from counseling – it could be their family, friends, or colleagues. By supporting the individual, we support the community.

5. Improved School Environments

Behavioral health services often work with schools to create an environment conducive to children dealing with mental health disorders. In a school, we often see a variety of mental illnesses, from autism spectrum disorder to anxiety disorder and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, it is the teacher who is in a good position to observe a child who struggles with mental illness, and if she and the child’s family have access to treatment services, they can all work together to improve that child’s health.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness and is facing financial obstacles to services, please call us at 1-800-338-5770.  At Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation we provide access to low-cost or no-cost mental health services through a variety of community mental health centers and professionals.  We also offer educational workshops for families and professionals.