Community’s Role in Mental Healthcare

From Catherine Kateley-Williams, NHC Behavioral Health Program Manager

Although the mind and body are often viewed as separate, they are closely related. Health is comprehensive – our physical and mental health work together in our bodies, impacting and shifting one another.  While physical health and illnesses can be visible and thus easier to diagnose, mental health is an equal and interconnected component to our body’s well-being.

What is mental health?  Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, or how we think, feel, and act.  It impacts our everyday lives, the decisions we make, and the relationships we have.

Strong mental health can improve relationships, allow you to become more flexible and adaptable in life changes and challenges, and promote good physical health.

If we don’t take care of our mental health (such as through a regular sleep pattern, connection to loved ones, or self-care), it can negatively impact our daily activities, sense of self, and relationships.

One in five Americans experience mental health issues or mental illness, which reiterates the importance of talking about it.  Talking about your mental health with loved ones, healthcare providers, and trusted coworkers can help you and others feel safe and cared for amidst difficulties and change.

In talking about your emotions and thoughts with trusted individuals, you may find community and solidarity in your experience.  You could try taking steps to improve your mental health with the company of others, such as taking a walk with a friend or joining a coworker for lunch.

Community is healing – especially for mental health.  At NHC, we promote the power of a healing community by meeting patients where they are, in an environment where individuals are encouraged to be open about their struggles or difficulties without judgement.

Last week, Governor Kate Brown announced a major state-wide investment in community-based services for people experiencing a mental health crisis.  The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will soon work with community partners across Oregon to provide timely and individualized responses to mental health crises, including services, support, and treatment.  This program will bring support and assistance to so many in need of the healing power of community.

At NHC, our behavioral health program helps patients get the information, skills, and support they need to feel better, regain control of their lives, and live more fully.  Our behavioral health providers can talk through your stress, habits, and behaviors, as well as how you’re reacting to medications or coping with medical conditions.  You can also get a referral to see a mental health counselor for further support.

To learn more about our behavioral health program, visit our services page.