Making Mental Health Care Accessible For Everyone This Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM), a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health. It’s a time that we can all come together to talk about how mental health and the stigma that still surrounds it impacts our communities, as well as how we can stay mentally healthy. It’s also the perfect time to talk about how we can make mental health care more accessible in our country and in our local communities.

Mental Health Care Isn’t Accessible for All Americans

Mental health care isn’t accessible for all people in the U.S. There are certain barriers that block access for many Americans. These barriers can be internal, like feelings that prevent someone from seeking help, or external, like a lack of providers where someone lives. 

Some barriers to mental health care include:

  • The stigma around mental health
  • Cultural or familial norms that say that mental illness and/or getting help for mental health is shameful or embarrassing. 
  • Lack of resources – money, time, transportation, child care, etc.
  • Lack of providers in the area. This is especially true for people who live in rural areas. Rural residents in the U.S. experience “significant disparities in mental health outcomes even though the prevalence of mental illness in rural and metropolitan areas is similar.” 
  • Racism, bias and discrimination in treatment settings
  • Lack of comprehensive health insurance coverage

What a Lack of Access to Mental Health Care Means for Our Local Community

Mental health care is about more than treating mental health conditions. More importantly, it’s about prevention. Preventing poor mental health and substance abuse in our community leads to more positive outcomes for all of us. Mentally well people are more likely to live longer, happier lives, to contribute to their local community and beyond, and to fulfill their highest potential.

When mental health care isn’t accessible for our community members, we all suffer.

What You Can Do To Make Health Care More Accessible in Your Community This Mental Health Awareness Month

Do What You Can To Reduce Stigma

Even one person can reduce stigma. Some ways you can reduce stigma around mental health include: 

  • Talking openly about mental health
  • Educating yourself and others
  • Being conscious of the language you use
  • Encouraging equality between physical and mental illness
  • Showing compassion for people with mental illness
  • Choosing empowerment over shame

Get Involved in Your Community

Being an active advocate for mental health in your community can make a big difference. Ready to get involved? Here are some resources from NAMI Coastal Virginia that can help you get you started with mental health advocacy in your local community.

What We’re Doing at Region Five To Make Health Care More Accessible This Mental Health Awareness Month

Promoting Equity Through Our DEI Policies

We’re committed to making mental health care accessible in our society, starting right here in our own community. All staff members, including the practitioners at our community services boards (CSBs) are regularly trained on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) issues, like how to recognize and avoid bias, promote equity, and provide fair and compassionate services and supports for all.

Offering More Affordable Mental Health Care – Even When You Think You Can’t Pay for Therapy

Health is a human right, and no one should have their needs neglected or their experiences invalidated. 1 in 4 Americans have to choose between getting mental health care and paying for their daily necessities. We want to change that, starting right here in our own community.

You can always get help at your local CSB, even if you think you can’t afford therapy.

Region Five Is Dedicated To Making Mental Health Care More Accessible

If you live in the Greater Tidewater Hampton Roads area, also known as coastal, southeastern Virginia, Region Five is your local authority on behavioral health. If you or someone you know needs treatment, support or resources to help with mental health, a developmental or intellectual disorder or substance abuse, we can help. 

We are dedicated to making mental health care accessible for all of our community members. Our regional CSBs offer services to meet a variety of needs and help is always available, regardless of your ability to pay.

Find your nearest CSB and make an appointment today.

Need to talk to someone right away? If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, substance abuse or another mental health concern, don’t hesitate to call the Region Five Crisis Line. Our trained counselors are available anytime, 24/7, and can listen and, if you want, give advice and connect you with local resources that can help.

If you’re in the Region Five area of Virginia, call the Region Five Crisis Line at 757-656-7755. You can also reach the nationwide crisis line by dialing 988.

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