The holiday season is a great reminder about the spirit of giving and helping to those in need. Whether you donate a toy to a child, volunteer at a shelter, or participate in a giving campaign, you are making a difference in the lives of others.
Mental Health is a growing need in this country. Today, 25 percent of Americans have a diagnosable mental illness and in some regions, such as Philadelphia, that rate increases to 30 percent. Fewer than half of those will seek treatment.
Mental health stigma is prevalent and often hinders individuals from seeking help. Although people often think this way, mental health conditions aren’t something one can just get over. If someone were suffering from a physical disease, no one would expect them to just deal with it. Mental health needs to be viewed and treated the same way as physical health.
Access to information on mental health also needs to increase so people understand the signs and symptoms and know when and where to seek help. Screening for Mental Health and the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health believe that checking in on your mental health should be as easy as taking a blood pressure screening.
The two organizations have started a campaign to bring five behavioral health kiosks to the Philadelphia area. A behavioral health kiosk allows users to assess their mental health or substance use issues in a matter of minutes, letting them know if their symptoms are consistent with a behavioral health disorder and connecting them with local resources. The self-guided, anonymous mental health screening provides users with the information they need to take the next step toward receiving treatment.
Unlike many physical health issues, there’s no cast or scar to serve as a visible reminder of the pain and suffering mental illness can cause. The behavioral health kiosks will serve as thought provokers, conversation starters, and most importantly, signs of hope and help for those living with these conditions. The kiosks are designed to reach people during their daily routines, increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and help more individuals connect with local quality treatment options.
Organizations throughout Philadelphia have the opportunity to serve as pilots for this leading national best practice health model. Two organizations, Drexel University Office of Counseling & Health and the 11th Street Family Health Services will be the first kiosk sites for this pilot, but we need to reach our goal first.
The campaign aims to raise $25,000 and accepts donations through the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. This holiday season, we hope you’ll help bring awareness to mental health by contributing to the campaign or spreading the word to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and helping those in need this holiday season.
Screening for Mental Health, Inc., the pioneer of large-scale mental health screening for the public, provides innovative mental health and substance abuse resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. http://mentalhealthscreening.org/