Thursday, May 25, 2017

AGI Helps Break the Connection Between Poverty and Mental Health

As we reach near the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, AGI is continuing to emphasize the importance of mental health. Mental health, whether it’s the month of May or not, should always be discussed within communities in order to digest any information or tips for patients that may be in need of assistance in regards to their mental health. Offering these services via specialty vehicles has not only created an impact on the importance of mental health, but it’s also helping those who may be unable to afford healthcare. In fact, there’s been recent discussion about the effects that poverty may leave in regards to our mental health. This connection has only recently been studied within the past 25 years. According to NPR, “studies have found connections between mental illness and poverty-associated conditions, such as not having enough to eat, not making enough money to live on and having a greater chance of developing risks for physical illnesses.” Communities around the world are affected by poverty and more recently, we’re finding out that the effects of poverty can lead to mental health issues such as depression. It is therefore important to not only create awareness for mental health, but also help those who need food and shelter.


There is a correlation between mental health and poverty. NPR states that in some cases even, those who have mental health disorders such as schizophrenia have a higher chance of living in poor conditions. Although mental health disorders are not selective, and can occur to anyone, even Prince Harry, there is a stigma that continues to taunt topics on mental health. Poverty, however, creates a higher risk of levels of stress, especially in children. Because they grow up in poverty-stricken communities, children are prone to have a higher chance of mental health problems. Furthermore, the stigma behind mental health may create a higher chance of bullying in school for these kids. It is therefore important to provide communities the ability to learn more, such as at mobile clinics, where there are affordable and accessible programs that both children and adults may visit to not only have the opportunity to be aware of their physical health, but mental health as well.

Mobile Clinics
Mobile clinics make a significant impact to the community. Not only are individuals able to physically see a source of accessible healthcare, but they also are a source of life for those in poverty stricken communities. By creating an opportunity for health programs for those in need of assistance, there is a higher chance of mental health improvement. The Atlantic reports:
The researchers saw more improvement when they looked at the impact of intervention     programs aimed at improving the mental health of people living in poverty. The            interventions they reviewed varied from administration of psychiatric drugs, to           community-based rehabilitation programs, to individual or group psychotherapy, to        residential drug treatment, to family education. They also looked at the impact of mental             health help on the rate and duration of employment and on family finances. Here they       found financial situations improved as their mental health improved.
It’s therefore important to not only discuss health topics when participating in mobile clinic programs, but also to allow an open mindedness of how patient’s backgrounds and living situations could potentially be a threat to their own health. Participating in programs that will help their health will ultimately result for a higher chance for their living situations also to improve.

Food and Shelter

Living in poor condition may increase mental health risks, but for those that have even a small chance of getting help, communities can work together to create a mobile resource center that can provide necessities such as food. Having a mobile soup kitchen can help create a source for people in need of a hot meal and also lower mental health risks from children all the way to adults. Whether they are at risk or have a mental health disorder, providing food for those in need is not only helping the community, but it’s bringing them together by helping each other essentially live. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Goes Beyond the Community

Although patients believe that going to the doctor to get a physical exam is enough, it’s actually not. Just like your body, your brain flexes its muscles every day, ensuring that you’re able to participate in day to day activities. It’s pertinent to not only get a physical exam, but also to find sources for treatment, as well as help reduce the stigma behind mental health. Now more than ever, are we seeing social media play an influential role as to mental health disorders rising among different age groups, but especially in teenagers. According to NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.” So what can you do to help reduce this number? Well, implementing community outreach programs will not only help reduce this number in teens, but’s it’s also going to help them participate outside, and help them reduce time on social media, or the internet for that matter. Creating these programs for your community go beyond that vicinity. What’s overall being achieved is a nationwide awareness of mental health and how to overall create a positive atmosphere for the progression of support and tackling the stigma that has ultimately increased via the internet and harsh conditions such as homelessness and juvenile justice systems.

Social Media
Social media has become the most direct way to communicate with your patients about health and clinic information. However, patients need to be reminded that too much social media can lead to depression or body dysmorphia. The Mental Health Foundation thus encourages to not only use social media as a tool for your organization, but also as a method to share warnings, and tips, such as the ones they listed below for signs of social media affecting a patient’s mental health:
Here are some signs to look out for:
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feeling low when you see other people's images and lifestyle.
  • Envy of others people lives - wishing your life was like someone else's.
  • Finding social media as your first and only choice of activity done for enjoyment.
  • Not having as many face to face conversations with your relatives and friends and feeling disconnected.
  • Being unable to do anything without feeling you need to share it online.
Educating the community, by implementing helpful information on your social media, is going to create a positive environment and support system for those affected by mental illnesses and disorders. By using social media as a platform to encourage people to look for warning signs of any mental health discrepancies from their friends and family members, then the seeds for mental health awareness have been placed into the community.

Mobile Wellness Center
One of the best ways to encourage mental health awareness is being physical! Both you and your patients can do this through two ways. The first is encouraging your patients to exercise, since exercise actually is a great mental health benefit. The second is for you to physically move your office! Creating a mobile wellness center for the community is promoting not only physical health, but mental health as well. By providing information about the benefits of exercise, patients will be able to not only make it to your mobile office for any workshops, but patients will be encouraged on the importance of staying up to date with their health. HuffingtonPost created thirteen reasons as to how and why exercise is a strong benefit for mental health, which can be used as another tool for promoting mental health awareness.

Mobile Mental Health Center
Creating affordable and accessible mental health care is going to help your community create awareness on the importance of mental health. By providing mobile psychiatric and behavioral health care on the go, you’re clinic or hospital is providing a unique service to those who are affected by mental health illnesses, and in return a creating a heightened awareness in the community about the need to not only treat, but to prevent statistics on mental health disorders from rising. Allowing patients to have access to the mobile mental health center is also encouraging a stronger relationship between patient and doctor. Therefore, creating workshops and classes at the mobile center is going to benefit patients is continuing to be aware of their health, and ultimately taking this information beyond their community and keeping in mind this information when they use social media.