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Closing the treatment gap: Time to address inequality within mental health

By Sosunmolu Shoyinka, MD DBHIDS Chief Medical Officer Two months ago, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and the City of Philadelphia took the occasion of Mental Health Awareness Month to remind residents -- especially during this difficult and unprecedented time of COVID-19: “You’re not alone. Help is out there.” Much has changed in the national dialogue since early May. And now Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, recognized in July of each year, gives us the opportunity to look more closely at overall mental health awareness -- and focus on the shortcomings of mental health treatment among minority groups. Mental health issues are not limited by race, gender, sexual identity, or anything else. Sadly, data suggest that access to mental health care does have limitations. This is particularly the case for minority populations. Across the United States, minority groups are less likely to have access to mental…

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15 Ways to Continue Supporting the Mental Health of Remote & On-site Teams

Almost overnight, remote work transformed from a niche benefit to the norm for millions of employees. And looking out for the mental well being of your workforce – both remote and in the office – is now more critical than ever. As many states and cities begin the 'yellow phase' of returning to work, there are still many people who will be working remotely for quite some time and will need support and guidance from their organizations and managers. COVID-19 has impacted remote and on-site teams in all sorts of ways: the cognitive load of processing the rapidly changing world in addition to work; the loss of the familiar scents, sounds, and sights of the office; our inner critics always watching us on camera in virtual meetings; the perceived need to be "on" 24/7; the cognitive dissonance of managing virtual communications; and virtual fatigue from the verbal and nonverbal demands…

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Ready to Help: Message from DBHIDS Commissioner David T. Jones

Philadelphians are impacted to the core of our being, like the rest of the world, by the compilation of traumatic events experienced over the past several months. From the ongoing uncertainty and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic to the justified anger over the murders of George Floyd and many others that has gripped the nation to the violent upheaval and feelings of helplessness that have overtaken many at this time. We all are experiencing some degree of trauma. Moreover, not knowing when we may become overwhelmed by the anxiety and stress that these overlapping circumstances have created—when will it end? But the City of Philadelphia stands ready to help those seeking support at this time. We at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) understand people who experience traumatic events have an increased risk of developing a range of behavioral health challenges. DBHIDS takes an approach to…

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Men’s Health Month 2020: It’s Time for a Change

With a new decade comes the opportunity to both look back and look forward. This time for reflection gives us all a unique occasion to evaluate how we have been dealing with our health, both physical and mental. Men, especially, should take this time to do just that. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, men are less likely to take care of themselves and their health than women. They are half as likely to visit the doctor for a check-up compared to women. Over 7 million American men have not seen a doctor in over 10 years, citing embarrassment, lack of convenience, not wanting a bad diagnosis, and being told as children not to complain about medical problems as reasons for avoiding doctors visits. It's 2020, and it's time for that to change. Men from 19 to 90 still need routine checkups, and in light of COVID-19, need to take…

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