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Help Is Available To The Mentally Ill Through Community Mental Health Centers
5/28/2014 2:54:52 PM

left to right: Stacy Albarran & Bernette Robinson
By Barney Blakeney

As the nation reels from the tragedy of yet another mass murder perpetrated by a California man and atrocities are being addressed by the South Carolina Department of Corrections, mental health workers at Berkeley Community Mental Health Center in Moncks Corner want local residents to know that help is available.

May is Mental Health Month. According to the National Institute of Mental Health an estimated 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one in four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. About six percent, or one in 17 adults, suffer from a serious mental illness. Many people suffer from one or more mental disorders at a given time and mental disorders are the leading cause of disabilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Bernette Robinson, supervisor of Specialty Programs at Berkeley Community Mental Health Center, said the advantage of observing Mental Health Awareness Month lies in the fact that the more people talk about mental health, education and treatment, the more its stigma is decreased leading to an enhanced quality of life for those with the illness.

Stacy Albarran, director of Children-Adolescents and Family Services at Berkeley Community Mental Health Center notes that statistically, one in five young people have one or more mental, emotional or behavioral challenges. One in 10 youth have challenges severe enough to impair how they function at home, school or in their communities.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults. An estimated 90 percent of children who complete suicide have a diagnosable mental illness.

So many people don’t know that help is out there, Albarran says. They see the mental health issues in loved ones but don’t know what to do or where to go, said Albarran whose office serves children ages four 18.

Just as with physical illnesses, mental illnesses are as prevalent and varied in its manifestations. Many factors may contribute to the illness, she said. And like physical illnesses, support and treatment can provide positive outcomes.

Getting past the stigma to treatment and recovery enables clients to embrace hope and be willing to take risks to achieve new goals. Reclaiming dignity includes overcoming negative perceptions of self and others, experiencing fear and shame and overcoming the fear of stigma itself.

Holly Bender, who is coordinator for the center’s Peer Support Services, says Berkeley Community Mental Health Center offers some unique services that include Care Coordination, Home Share that gives clients a safe and stable place to live, financial assistance for medication and services, school-based services, adult therapy, psychiatrists and nurses.

Berkeley Community Mental Health Center is one of 17 community mental health centers operated by the S.C. Dept. of Mental Health. A SCDMH center is located in every county in the state. Each offers the same array of services.

As citizens move among different communities, care can be facilitated through the department’s common electronic medical records. The Berkeley center serves some 1,500 clients monthly through outpatient, individual, group and family therapies and psychiatric medical care.

Berkeley Community Mental Health Center’s mission as is that of the other centers, is to support the recovery of citizens with mental illnesses.

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Harold A. Maio Submitted: 5/28/2014
its stigma Yours is a term of bullies. no matter at whom you direct it. the illness If mental illness is an illness, physical illness is. An estimated 90 percent of children who complete suicide have a diagnosable mental illness. That is nonsense. There are many precipitators of suicide, illness is but one. Bullying is another. There is other bullying in this article. Every negative statement is that. The authors are not reachable by e-mail. To me that is instructive. Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor 8955 Forest St Ft Myers, FL 33907 239-275-5798 [email protected]

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