Mental health patients need alot of help – both physical and psychological. At one time, a mental health problem carried with it a stigma. This attitude is now changing. The type of help that such patients require is much different than for other ordinary patients. To provide and to support a wide range of solutions to such patients, and to increase the quality of their living and enhancing their dignity and their respect by increasing their potential is the mission of the Mental Health Departments of every state. A large number of such Behavioral Centers exist in Ann Arbor, Michigan and also in other states. The purpose of this article is to give the readers an overall view of the workings of such Behavioral Centers, in general, and to briefly mention a few prominent ones in Michigan, in particular.
Any Behavioral Center is expected to provide a thoughtful, compassionate, solutions-oriented approach to each patient’s problems. There must also be a team-based approach to meet the unique needs of each patient. The therapists need to have a close collaboration among the patient, his/or her family members and other therapists of different expertise. Gender, race, ethnicity, genetics, and religion are many important factors that should also be carefully considered in the overall treatment process. Both psychiatric as well as psychological evaluation, education and training, assessment and consultation are all necessary components for the services that are provided by such Behavioral Centers. Mental health recovery and sustainance is a life-long journey, and is different for different patients, who desire different outcomes. The duration of this journey, as was stated above, could be of a limited time, or it could be a continuous one, depending upon the severity of the individual patient’s problem, as well as the severity of their symptoms. These Behavioral Centers must be extremely careful about protecting the confidentiality rights of the patient, and they must also be very careful in preventing any abuse or neglect by any staff member.
Most of these Behavioral Centers provide treatment and help for persons suffering from Depression, Anxiety, Substance abuse, Chemical Dependency, Bipolar Disorder, Panic Disorder, O.C.D. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Insomnia, Stress, A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder), Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Schizophrenia, etc.
Many of these patients are psychologically and medically evaluated. Also, many times, parental guidance and family counseling can provide a great sense of relief to the symptoms of their particular illness.
After an Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment program has run its course, the patients are then advised to make further improvements by joining a specialized, condition-specific support group. However, it has been observed that such support groups exist only at very few places and that their workings are not in close collaboration with other city-wide Behavioral Centers, and that they are also not streamlined. As a result of all of these important factors, attendance and participation in such support groups is very infrequent and irregular. Many times, such support groups meet only for exchanging experiences, and not for finding solutions. People often become frustrated and as a result, stop participating. These support groups should also extend their gamut of activities by including sports, picnics, and other meaningful excursions to places of interest to memebrs of the group, such as libraries or museums. This hopefully, will increase the bond that already exists among the participants within the support group, by complementing each members’ needs, and will help to make significant progress in the reduction in the severity of the symptoms of each of the individual members’ diseases.
More advanced Behavioral Centers should also include in their programs, facilities for advanced training for their staff, by training from skilled professionals who have a broad range of expertise. These Behavioral Centers should also make sure that once the individual patient is out of their particular Behavioral Center, that he/ or she recieves adequate external help in matters concerning Daily Living, and Employment, to ensure that no relapse of symptoms of their particular disease should ever occur.
In addition to Behavioral Centers, there are also several specialized help-relief centers, such as grief-management counseling centers, for children as well as for adults. One such help-relief center, which this author visited on thier Open House Day is Ele’s Place, which is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This help-relief center has several very good facilities. Other help-relief centers might also have similar facilities. The public-at large will know about them and should benefit from them, if they hold regular Open House Events.
Ele’s Place photo is attached at the end of this article.