Mental Health: It Takes A Village
Last Updated: 26 Oct 2021
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The mental health crisis is a national issue. Whether helping a friend or working towards better national access to mental health care, we can all make a difference.
Millions of people living in the United States are impacted by mental illness — 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth (ages 6-17) experience a mental illness or disorder every year. And yet, barely half of individuals impacted receive treatment each year. (Less than 45% of adults with a mental illness received treatment in 2019.)
These mental health statistics highlight a troubling truth: Millions of individuals living with a mental health condition are not getting the support or professional care they need.
Left untreated, mental health conditions can have enormous physical, social, and financial impacts, including suicide, the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34.
The mental health crisis is a national issue. Whether we personally experience a mental health condition or not, it affects all of us through our relationships, workplaces, and government and social structures. On the individual level and at the national level, mental wellbeing takes a village.
Here’s how (and why) we can and should all play a role in the mental health of our communities and country.
What Are Emotionships, And Why Do We Need Them?
“Emotionships” refer to the relationships we have that help us manage our moods. And they are super important!
Let’s talk about how emotionships work.
Sometimes we rely on one person — a spouse, friend, or parent — to help us process all of our emotions and manage all of our moods. But the truth is that one person can’t help us do all of that. Not everyone is equipped to manage every emotion. One friend might be a fantastic listener who can offer insightful reflection, while another friend might have the high-energy pep-talk down solid.
Our emotionships are most effective when we know who to turn to for certain emotional needs. We are more likely to be satisfied and have strong mental wellbeing when we know who to reach out to when we need to share happy news, need to be soothed during an anxious moment, or need someone to amplify our anger, cheer us up when we’re sad, etc.
Building An Emotionship Village For Better Mental Health
Our mental health can swing drastically based on our interpersonal emotion regulation, or the processes of regulating our emotions through our lived social interactions. Because of this, diversifying our emotionship village with people of all emotional strengths can strongly benefit our mental wellbeing.
Building an emotionship village of friends, family members, peers, and other loved ones who are different from us and different from one another ensures that we have different people to turn to for different emotional needs.
Emotion regulation can even happen in unexpected moments. Sometimes, a total stranger — someone you pass on the street, a fellow shopper in the grocery store aisle — can provide exactly the energy we didn’t know we needed to reboot our mental health in the span of a conversation or brief interaction.
Other times, seeking professional mental health support from a licensed therapist or counselor may be the best way to enhance our emotionship village and tend to our mental health. As caring and invested as our loved ones are, sometimes we need someone with the experience and knowledge to help us develop behaviors that will change our day-to-day life.
Mental Health Care Access In The United States
When it comes to mental health conditions and suicide prevention, we often talk about the importance of symptom recognition and early intervention. But the next step — connecting with professional help — isn’t always easy.
All four of the geographical areas that Endeavors serves — Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico — are ranked among the lowest areas in the United States for access to mental health care. Texas, North Carolina, and Florida also ranked in the top 12 states for death by suicide in 2019.
At Endeavors, we’re working to change that. Here’s how:
Training Employees For Suicide Prevention
Through the new Zero Suicide Initiative, Endeavors is stepping up as a professionally-equipped, compassionate, and comprehensive member of our clients’ emotionship village. The Zero Suicide Initiative launched in August 2021 through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The initiative consists of suicide prevention training across all four of the organization’s pillars — Veteran Support & Wellness, Emergency Services, Community Based Services, and Migrant Services.
By training clinical and front-line staff to identify suicidal risks among individuals we serve (Veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, natural disaster survivors, and migrants), we’re working to connect clients who need no-cost or low-cost mental health care with licensed professionals.
The initiative’s name comes from the model our training is built on — the Zero Suicide Model, developed by theEducation Development Center, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. This model is grounded in the belief that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health professionals are 100% preventable.
Low-Cost Mental Health Care For Suicide-Safer Communities
For qualifying clients, our personnel refers them to one of our Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics, which serve post-9/11 Veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families in San Antonio, El Paso, and Killeen. The Veteran Wellness Center in San Antonio also provides low-cost mental health care and wellness services to the Texas military community.
For individuals not affiliated with the military, we’re equipping our case managers to provide comprehensive resources and referrals for care.
How To Help Fight The Mental Health Crisis
Looking for concrete ways you can help end the mental health crisis? Here’s a list of ways to make an impact:
- Enroll in Suicide Prevention Training
- Fight the stigma against mental illness
- Share resources on recognizing suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Ask your employer or organization about providing Suicide Prevention Training in the office
- Support organizations that provide help to people living with mental illness
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or needs to talk to someone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or text HOME to 741741. The national Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. If the threat to safety is immediate, call 911 or go to your local emergency room. The time to seek help is now..
About Endeavors and Cohen Veterans Network
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.
Cohen Veterans Network is a 501(c)(3) national not for profit philanthropic network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans and their families. CVN focuses on improving mental health outcomes, via a network of outpatient mental health clinics for veterans and their families in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions. The network currently has 19 clinics in operation serving veterans and their families across the country. To learn more about Cohen Veterans Network, visit cohenveteransnetwork.org.