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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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City and Independence Blue Cross Launch #MindPHL Together Campaign to Connect Public to Mental Health Resources

Campaign Aims to Reduce Stigma, Encourage Philadelphians to Seek Help Today Mayor Jim Kenney announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign which builds on national Mental Health Awareness Month. The #mindPHL Together campaign, sponsored by the City of Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross, aims to: Bring an improved community understanding of mental health and well-being; Reduce the stigma associated with needing mental health support; Encourage Philadelphians to seek help for themselves and others; and Offer vital support needed by those impacted by mental health challenges. “Amid the heightened uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental well-being is more important than ever,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “During this unprecedented time, many of us are experiencing loss, anxiety, stress, or overwhelming sadness. I want to remind Philadelphians to be mindful, know you are not alone, and that it’s okay to seek help for these and other symptoms.” The campaign includes a…

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How to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association,…

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Dating Violence Awareness Month & 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of efforts to end Dating Violence. Enough is enough! Everyone deserves healthy relationships. We can influence change in how we treat our partners and how we respond to acts of abuse. Take ACTION and put an END to Dating Violence. Teen dating violence is remarkably common, yet it is rarely discussed. According to national statistics, 1 in 3 girls in the U.S. will experience some sort of dating violence, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Are You a Parent or Guardian of a Teen? Here are 4 tips to guide your conversation about Healthy Relationships: Be open – Allow your teen to express their views of what a healthy relationship looks like. Allow them to reflect without dismissing their views. Teach your teen the signs of an unhealthy relationship – Point out unhealthy behaviors, let them know that…

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