DBHIDS’ Health Promotion Intern
Would you be surprised if we told you that only 13% of people who break their arm receive treatment for it?
The injury is severe, the help is available, and the consequences of not getting treated can last a lifetime. Why wouldn’t someone seek treatment?
Now, what if we told you that just 13% of Americans who suffer from a mental illness are currently receiving treatment. Are you surprised? Unlike the figure about a broken arm, this one is true. Also true: nearly 75% of Americans with a mental illness will never receive treatment throughout their lifetimes.
Here in Philadelphia, we are working to change that figure. How? One way to do so is by offering free, anonymous online behavioral health screenings – available here on HealthyMindsPhilly.org. A regular physical screening or check-up is considered a preventative measure and is standard practice when it comes to physical healthcare. Just as diabetes or high blood pressure have specific signs and symptoms, so too does behavioral health (mental health and/or substance use) challenges. Taking a behavioral health screening could identify problems earlier as well as provide you, or someone you know, with earlier access to treatment. Early access to behavioral health services has been proven to increase the likelihood that the treatment will be effective. The online screening is one important (and accessible) way to make mental health an important part of the conversation about overall health and wellness.
Did you take a screening last year?
If so, you were one of over one thousand Philadelphians to take an online screening. In an effort to make the screening as helpful and effective as possible, your help is essential! We are seeking to learn answers to questions like,
- What happens after the screening?
- Are you feeling empowered to seek help if you need it?
- Are you ashamed of your results and quickly exit the page?
- Do you feel the need to talk to a loved one about the screening?
Answers to some of these questions could help to strengthen the online screening program – and more importantly, improve access to behavioral health resources and services.
We want your feedback! Next time you take an online screening, look for the new option on the results page to sign up to participate in a short survey to follow up with you 30-60 days after the screening. This follow-up survey is completely separate from screening results and all responses will be confidential. Ten minutes or less within the 30-60 days after you’ve taken an online screening is all we need to help us improve the online screening program – and could also win you an Amazon gift card
So, the next time you ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” consider taking a behavioral health screening and volunteer to sign up for the post-screening survey. Don’t forget to let your family, friends, and loved ones know how to get a check-up from the neck up on this site because mental health is just as important as their physical health.
–Contributed by Kathleen Fox, DBHIDS Health Promotion Intern