By Nyesha Stone
It’s finally becoming okay to admit that we might not be okay. For those facing a mental health need, recovery is possible with available resources.
There are many triggers throughout life that can affect our mental health just like any physical health issues.
Mike Lappen, Behavioral Health Division Administrator, said the medical field has changed the way it looks at mental health. Instead of treating it as something incurable, it looks at mental health like diabetes or other common diseases, which are treatable with the right medication and resources.
Lappen said historically patients were treated in institutions, such as mental hospitals but things have and are changing. Now, patients have the options to choose to go to small clinics, hospitals and other resources to get help.
Traditionally, society waited until an individual was having a crisis or in bad mental state to have them treated, said Lappen. Medical providers are focusing more on preventive care to avoid these types of situations.
“Mental health is just a part of your health,” said Lappen.
According to him, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) is focused on providing upfront access because they know, for example, how long individuals on Medicaid have to wait to get help. And when they can’t provide something in-house, they have resources and connections to pass on to their patient for better treatment.
“We’re focused on expanding these opportunities,” he said about BHD’s continuous effort to improve the City’s health.
In America, 18 ½ percent of adults will experience mental health in a year or substance abuse, said Lappen. But there is help out there. The BHD alone has resources that are being underutilized. BHD offers access to mental health and substance use assessments, crisis counseling and more.
“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help… it’s a part of life for many people,” said Lappen about experiencing mental health. “Recovery is possible. [Individuals] can and well get better.”
To learn more about BHD and its services, visit https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/DHHS/BHD.