Missouri Highlands calls attention to Mental Health Month
Contact: Samantha Hill, RN- Marketing Director
Ellington, Missouri- May 5, 2015—Addressing mental health before Stage 4—this year’s theme for May is
Mental Health Month—calls attention to the importance addressing mental health symptoms early,
identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path
towards overall health. Mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most
critical points in the disease process—before Stage 4.“When we think about cancer, heart disease, or
diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them,” said Deana Payne, LCSW, and Behavioral Health Director of
Missouri Highlands Health Care. “We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. So why don’t we
do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness? This Mental Health
Month, we are encouraging everyone to learn the signs, ask for help if needed, address symptoms early,
and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.” One of the quickest and
easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to
take a mental health screening. Mental Health America has online screening tools for depression,
anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder at mhascreening.org. MHA’s goal is to get
every American screened and aware of their mental health, so they can address it #B4Stage4. MHA has
also developed a series of fact sheets available on its website (www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may) on
realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs
of mental illness and how and where to get help when needed.
“When feelings and emotions get overwhelming, it’s hard to know what to do,” Payne said.
“Sometimes, these early symptoms might not ever become serious. Like a cough, they often go away on
their own, and are nothing to fear. But sometimes, they are a sign of something more severe and
shouldn’t be ignored. “Taking a screening is the first step to protect your mental health, and addressing
mental illness before Stage 4.Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we
could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During most of these years most people
still have supports that allow them to succeed—home, family, friends, school, and work. Intervening
effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living
with mental illnesses.
“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Payne.
“When you address symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and
Missouri Highlands Health Care, a non-profit organization and federally qualified health center,
endeavors to meet the primary and preventive health care needs of the residents of Carter, Reynolds,
Shannon, Iron, Ripley, Butler, and Wayne counties in Missouri. Missouri Highlands Health Care commits
to providing high quality, cost effective care and services to all patients, regardless of payer source.
Missouri Highlands Health Care places particular emphasis on care provided to uninsured and
underinsured patients. We accept Medicaid, Medicare, most insurance and offer a sliding fee scale for
patients that are uninsured or underinsured that is based on household income and size. Missouri
Highlands provides preventative and primary medical care, preventative and restorative dental care,
behavioral health services, prescription assistance programs, telehealth services and case
management/referral services. For more information, visit our website at www.mohigh.org and like
Missouri Highlands Health Care on Facebook.