May is Mental Health Month: Monarch is Expanding its Services in Tandem With the Evolving Mental Health Movement
Many people suffer from mental health conditions silently and without support, but every May, organizations like Monarch, and individuals across the United States work diligently to change that as the nation observes Mental Health Awareness Month.
Local awareness events, mental health screenings and other efforts help educate communities and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
“A lot of people don’t understand that mental health conditions are medical conditions. What I explain to the people we serve is, a psychiatrist is similar to your dermatologist or your cardiologist, for example. They treat medical conditions. And the number one prescribed class of medication in the United States is anti-depressants,” said William Garrot, a behavioral health therapist at Monarch.
According to National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, and many more are affected through friends and family who struggle. While mental health education should be year-round, observing May as Mental Health Awareness Month is a reminder of how important it is to know the risk factors and symptoms, as well as the array of integrated treatment services available, so that people can be empowered to receive the help they need, when they need it.
Monarch is spearheading the evolution of mental health care in North Carolina in numerous ways. The first is by providing Facility-Based Crisis services, through expanding crisis services in Lumberton and a future location currently being built in east Charlotte. Last month, Monarch broke ground on a new Child & Adolescent Facility Based Crisis Center, the first of its kind in the state. The new 16-bed facility will serve people in Mecklenburg County ages six to 17.
“If someone goes to an emergency room at a hospital, they could literally be stuck there for days waiting for a bed without proper treatment. Meanwhile, the hospital must have staff look after them or have police officers stay with the patient or transport them several hours away for an available bed, so it can be a disaster,” adds Garrot. “Facility-Based Crisis services are helpful because they provide people with local treatment and are part of the same agency where they can get their outpatient services, so it provides continuity of care.”
Another way Monarch is addressing the evolving mental health needs of the community is through a recent partnership with Cone Health Foundation where our professionals are providing person-first treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use issues in Greensboro.
“One person supported through this program came to us with depression and was using opiates. Since she’s been coming, her depression has been treated, she stopped using opiates and she is back in school. We’re working on getting her connected with a group as well, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to build natural supports,” said Garrot.
Monarch is committed to providing quality services by identifying the needs of each community and invites everyone throughout the month of May and year-round, to take NAMI’s “StigmaFree Pledge” and help spread awareness about mental illness.