Mental health issues touch the lives of many in our community. In honor of National Mental Health Awareness month, we asked DCMC Behavioral Health Coordinator Barb Johnson-Giese MSW, LCSW, CSAC, ICS, what resources DCMC provides to those struggling with mental health issues, as well as what we can do to support those who struggle.
Q) What are some common misconceptions about mental health?
Barb Johnson-Giese: There has been long-term stigma attached to individuals experiencing mental health related issues. Some individuals are afraid of being labeled as crazy or weak because they aren’t functioning in the manner our society deems “normal”. Mental health concerns, such as depression, should be viewed in the same manner as other health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, to reduce the stigma of seeking help.
Q) How does DCMC support mental health outside of our clinic walls?
Barb Johnson-Giese: Door County Medical Center recently conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment in collaboration with Door County Public Health and other human service organizations. This assessment indicated a need in Door County for additional mental health services as well as increased community awareness to reduce the stigma of obtaining mental health services. The rates of suicide continue to rise in Door County and are higher than both the state and national averages per capita. DCMC participates in the STRIDE Program, which offers mental health services in the schools for students who are unable to access mental health care in a community agency setting.
Q) Sometimes our language reinforces negative stereotypes. Are there any words or phrases you’d like to see folks stop using in relation to mental health?
Barb Johnson-Giese: The following terms tend to reinforce stigma associated with mental health and wellness: nuts, crazy, happy pills, losing it and weak, to name a few. Further, referring to someone by their behavioral health illness, such as “she’s bipolar” or “he’s alcoholic” tends to negatively label them as being their illness instead of having an illness. We don’t refer to someone with a physical health illness as “she’s breast cancer” or “he’s Alzheimers”.
Q) What Behavioral Health (BH) services does DCMC provide?
Behavioral Health Integration is an approach to primary health care that addresses all aspects of your personal health needs, including mental and behavioral health. The program offers help to those needing support with depression, anxiety, tobacco cessation or risky alcohol or other drug use, with the goal of helping patients change behaviors that interfere with a healthy lifestyle. Your DCMC primary care provider must refer for this service.
Behavioral Health Psychotherapy Services are designed to meet the mental health needs of people with moderate to severe mental health needs who may have experienced a traumatic or significant event that negatively impacted their lives.
Behavioral Health Psychiatric Services address the needs of people who may benefit from medication in addition to psychotherapy services.
Need mental health assistance? Please call our Behavioral Health Department at 920-746-0510 to schedule an appointment. You may also talk with your primary care provider about a referral to BH services.