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Personalized Plans for Severe Depression Treatment

Severe depression treatment is liable to include any number of different depression therapies and intervention strategies that can help the individual find some relief and build momentum toward a more positive mental health outcome. More than just severity rating, the entire course of the clinical depression should be taken into account when building a treatment plan. Just because symptoms are severe at the onset of the depressive episode doesn’t mean the individual won’t respond to less intrusive, first-line therapies. Likewise, substantially disruptive symptoms of depression that persist for a long period of time or which do not respond to common therapies may require their own tailored interventions.

As you consider what treatments might be relevant in your case, we suggest you keep in mind that treatment outcomes are rarely all good or all bad. Some people find immediate and nearly complete cessation of depression symptoms only to relapse in some number of weeks, months, or years. Other people may find more mild but consistent relief when receiving treatment. For some, there is little effect; for others, seeking treatment is truly a life-saver. With this in mind, here is an overview of the common types of severe depression treatment.

 

Psychotherapy

This is the catch-all phrase for the cognitive, behavioral, psychoanalytic, and client-centered or humanistic approaches that constitute talk therapy. This therapy may be administered by a wide range of mental health professionals, including mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed clinical social workers.

Given the right circumstances, even severe cases of depression may be treated with psychotherapy alone. On the other hand, with an aggressive combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies administered through an intensive psychotherapy program, this treatment bears little resemblance to the “in-and-out” office experience that many people associate with psychotherapy.

 

Antidepressant Medications

The jury is still out on how effective antidepressants are. Yet, certain types of severe depression offer some of the strongest evidence that these medications outperform placebos. In the state of Utah, you need to see a medical doctor—most likely a primary care physician or a psychiatrist—to get a prescription for antidepressant medications.

Some people go to see their doctor solely to get a prescription, but it’s just as important to get a physical examination that may identify a medical condition as the potential cause of the depression symptoms. Likewise, whether it’s a new or refilled prescription, it’s crucial that any side effects are closely monitored.

 

Depression Clinics and Specialized Protocols

Both short-term inpatient care and longer-stay residential treatment centers may be an appropriate outlet for severe depression treatment. It’s especially important to use these care facilities for anyone who poses a serious risk of harming themselves or someone else. Another common reason to seek out these clinics is the inability to perform essential tasks of daily living.

Electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation, on the other hand, are more common for persistent depression that does not respond to other forms of treatment. Results vary, but these treatments are often effective for approximately six month—while potentially impairing memory or creating other side effects.

 

Develop a Severe Depression Treatment Plan

Common for severe forms of depression, combination treatments are any strategy that uses more than one therapy in concert with one another. But again, it’s important to find one or more health providers who can first evaluate the symptoms and individual case history. Then, collaboratively, you and your health provider can develop a personalized treatment plan.

 

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Learn about Mental Health Insurance Parity in Utah

In a broad sense, mental health insurance parity is the idea that financial coverage protections for mental health services should be the same as those for physical illnesses. Parity rules have changed a lot over the years since they’ve been first introduced, and they continue to evolve today. With this in mind, here is a brief historical context followed by information resources that will help you understand and access mental health insurance coverage in Utah.

 

A Short Timeline of Parity Laws in Utah

A groundswell of support for mental health insurance parity developed in the early 1990s and led to the passage of the first federal law, The Mental Health Parity Act, in 1996. Several states followed suit with their own parity legislation. In 2000, Utah joined the club by passing the Catastrophic Mental Health Insurance Coverage Act. Many of the definitions in this act have been revised over the years, however. The latest statute information can be found here.

Yet, these state laws were in general conflict with federal legislation passed in 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Originally scheduled to go into effect in 2010, these regulations have been postponed multiple times. Most recently, the Department of Health and Human Services issued the final rules in 2013.

 

Utah’s Record on Mental Health Insurance Parity

Overall, through the years, it’s been a mixed bag of policy and advocacy positions. Despite passing its own law, Utah has been behind many other states in the mental health parity protections offered to its insurance consumers. Specifically, the state allowed for a separate schedule of deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. The protections only applied to HMO and large group health plans. And the mandated option for mental health insurance only needed to provide 50% coverage.

Still, a lot of states offered comparable or even weaker protections. It’s also worth pointing out that, with one of the highest rates of serious mental illness in the country, Utah had a higher need but also a higher burden to implement these parity coverage rules. At the same time, Senator Orrin Hatch has been a leading advocate for mental health issues in the U.S. Senate and was instrumental in passing parity legislation.

Moreover, insurance isn’t the only kind of parity in the mental health world. Nor is it always a good thing. Utah also deserves credit for establishing mental health courts that seek to reduce parity with the regular criminal justice system and to instead identify outcomes that offer “therapeutic justice.”

 

More Resources for Mental Health Services in Utah

For information about the federal statutes contained in the most recent parity legislation, you can check out this resource from the U.S. Department of Labor.

If you’re interested in Utah’s current record for mental health services in general, you can take a look at Utah’s report card from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Looking forward, it will be interesting to see if mental health insurance parity expands access to mental health services in such a way that it puts added pressure on reforming Utah’s closed insurance panel system.

 

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Things to Know about Inpatient Depression Treatment in Utah

Inpatient depression treatment is any therapy or combination of therapies that is delivered in a hospital setting for severe or treatment-resistant depression. Not all the hospitals in Utah have a dedicated behavioral health unit for this type of treatment, while others specialize in pediatric, adult, or geriatric populations. If possible, choosing a hospital with this specialization is preferred, but in an emergency situation, it’s best to seek immediate assistance. Know that severe depression may absolutely constitute a life-threatening emergency: For adolescents, suicide is the third leading cause of death, while 42 percent of inpatient services for adolescent mood disorders start with an emergency room visit.

 

Who Needs Inpatient Care Services?

Depending on the circumstances, inpatient depression treatment may be sought as a first-line defense or in response to treatment-resistant episodes. Given that each year approximately 5 million people experience a depressive episode but do not seek treatment, some people need inpatient care as a neglected episode deteriorates.

Inpatient care services may also be needed by those struggling with bipolar disorder. A comprehensive treatment plan should be developed to break the manic-depressive cycle, or at least help mitigate each stage. That said, inpatient care may be especially important during the transition from a manic to a depressive episode, as the rapid onset of depression is more common for individuals with a bipolar disorder.

 

When to Seek Inpatient Depression Treatment

  • An individual presents a risk of harming themselves or others. (If a mental health assessment determines someone poses a serious risk, they may be hospitalized involuntarily.
  • An individual is receiving a specific treatment requiring inpatient care—such as electroconvulsive therapy or continuous observation in connection with high-risk or experimental protocols.
  • An individual is unable to perform basic living activities or to care for themselves. This one is the hardest to pin down. It could be malnutrition, very poor hygiene, an inability to work, or extreme isolation and lack of social interaction.

 

What to Expect

A lot of people have questions about cost. The good news is that most health insurance plans now cover inpatient depression treatment. Moreover, due to recent changes in the law, many health insurance companies are in the process of revising their benefits and cost-sharing structure. It may also be helpful to contact your health insurer about different coverage rules for different hospitals.

Most often, the length of stay for these services is between 1-7 days. While getting feedback from both the patient and his or her close personal contacts, the hospital staff is the primary decision-maker in precisely how long inpatient care lasts. Yet, there are exceptions. For those who are compelled to receive inpatient care for a prolonged period of time, a judge must approve involuntarily treatment. And, in rare cases, insurance companies may also decide to suspend authorization for treatment.

 

How to Prepare for Your Stay

Many hospitals have similar rules about what you can and can’t bring with you. A change of clothes, some basic grooming items, and a few personal items that cannot be used to harm anyone is usually about it. To be as comfortable as possible and to avoid confusion, you may want to contact the hospital ahead of time for exact guidelines. But again, if an immediate intervention is needed, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local emergency room or one of the behavioral health units in Utah.

 

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What Mental Health Parity Law Means for Access in Utah

Mental health parity law is the collection of federal and state statutes that seek to standardize mental health insurance benefits with those applied to physical illness. In the previous two decades in which these laws have been enacted, they’ve strengthened and clarified the insurance coverage offered to mental health consumers in Utah.

On the other hand, these same consumers are easily frustrated by rules that continue to evolve as various laws are implemented and as discrepancies between federal and state statutes are resolved. With this in mind, we’ve assembled a general guide for how mental health parity law impacts access to mental health services for state residents.

 

Parity Protections vs. Guaranteed Coverage

Perhaps the biggest misconception about the mental health parity law is that it guarantees mental health benefits are included in all health insurance plans. No such requirement exists, although a large majority of insurance plans do offer mental health benefits, including all plans sold through the health insurance exchange. Instead, new federal parity protections ensure that consumers won’t face a separate schedule of co-pays, co-insurance fees, and number of visits/days of care. What’s more, these protections now apply to small group and individual health insurance plans. An earlier version of the mental health parity law had already issued prohibitions against annual and lifetime caps that applied solely to mental health coverage.

 

Qualifying Mental Health Conditions

Just because an insurance plan covers mental health services doesn’t mean every condition qualifies. Utah state law defines a mental health condition as any illness “that falls under a diagnostic category listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual,” with the following exceptions:

  1. Marital or family problem
  2. Social, occupational, religious, or other social maladjustment
  3. Conduct disorder
  4. Chronic adjustment disorder
  5. Psychosexual disorder
  6. Chronic organic brain syndrome
  7. Personality disorder
  8. Specific developmental disorder or learning disability
  9. Intellectual disability

 

Ongoing Changes to Mental Health Coverage

To get quotes for individual case fees and out-of-pocket costs, it may be necessary to contact specific mental health professionals as well as your insurance carrier. But more generally, research is a critical tool that allows health providers and insurance companies to determine what treatments should be deemed as medically necessary. After all, it’s one thing to say that mental health conditions should be covered the same way as physical conditions in terms of co-pays and office visits, but treatment services for major depression are quite different than those for a hip replacement. To this point, Medicaid and other insurance plans have only recently started providing coverage for autism.

 

Mental Health Parity Law and Consumer Access

Like so many things about health insurance, increased access usually happens behind the scenes where the group health plans are built by insurance companies and regulated by the Utah Insurance Department. Yet, increased coverage may not lead to increased access for consumers who do not know about the change. We encourage you to review your latest health plan information and to recognize that mental health services may not cost as much as out-of-pocket as you first believed.

 

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Mental Health Insurance in Utah: What You Need to Know

Today, nearly all forms of mental health insurance are included within a general health insurance policy. There are a few options out there for supplemental mental health, but many of these stand-alone policies are largely designed for employers to get around the protections of the Mental Health Parity Act.

It’s important for individuals to understand the basics of mental health insurance in Utah. For one thing, financial coverage is an essential component of mental health access for most residents in the state. Likewise, it can be incredibly frustrating for individuals who believe they’ve found the ideal mental health provider only to discover the provider doesn’t accept the individual’s insurance coverage.

 

How People Get Mental Health Insurance in Utah

Exact figures are hard to come by, but there are easy ways to get a rough estimate. According to the latest health insurance figures from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 21 percent of Utah residents are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, both of which offer mental health coverage.

Moreover, 58 percent are covered through an employer group plan, while an additional 8 percent are covered by individual plans. How many of these plans included mental health benefits? According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, “87 percent of organizations offered mental health coverage to their employees.” Individual health plans may have been less likely to include this coverage in the past. However, given that all plans sold through the health insurance exchange include this coverage, that’s no longer the case for many of these individuals.

Based on these figures, approximately 4 out of every 5 Utah residents have access to mental health insurance. Looking ahead, this coverage rate is bound to go even higher once the federal and state government resolve negotiations on the proposed Medicaid expansion. At Mountain Mental Health, we encourage to seek out general health insurance coverage and to look for new coverage programs and eligibility requirements that can expand your access to mental health coverage.

 

Insurance Benefits and Parity Protections

Just because an insurance plan includes mental health benefits doesn’t mean that every service is covered for an indefinite amount of time. The most commonly covered benefits include counseling and/or psychotherapy, prescription drugs, and short-term inpatient care—although there may be additional allowances for specific treatments. You should be able to determine the exact benefits by reviewing your coverage details or contacting the insurer directly. A mental health provider should also be able to tell you what types of insurance coverage they accept at their clinic.

If you do have mental health benefits, the coverage is likely to be stronger than ever thanks to new parity protections. You can read more about mental health parity rules in Utah here. But if you’re ready to seek out mental health services based on insurance coverage or as a private-pay arrangement, we can help you find a local, qualified mental health provider.

 

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Utah’s Closed System for Mental Health Insurance Coverage

Utah is one of a few states that uses closed insurance panels for mental health insurance coverage and has a reputation for being one of the most closed systems in the country. Most consumers tend to think of insurance coverage as the various HMO and PPO networks that allow them to access certain health providers with a set cost structure.

But do you ever wonder how a mental health insurance professional—or even health provider—gets into one of these networks? They have to be invited! And with a closed insurance panel system, the insurance company may reject the invitation request based on any number of criteria and even when the health provider jumps through all the necessary hoops.

 

Closed Insurance Panels and Public Policy

The argument for and the argument against closed insurance panels are essentially the same: It allows insurance companies to more tightly monitor, regulate, and control the standard of care and costs associated with mental health insurance coverage. As such, insurance companies tend to point out that they strive to improve the affordability and quality of care. Increasing mental health access to Utah residents is the biggest part of our mission at MHAU, so we’re not going to pretend we’re not biased. But we’re not the only ones troubled by this model. Given that licensure is supposed to ensure the right to practice a given competency, the Utah Psychological Association is lobbying for stronger consideration of reform to this public policy.

 

Challenges for Mental Health Insurance Coverage in Utah

It’s one thing to guarantee at least a certain number of providers in a given competency area will be included in the network. Yet, the mental health clinics which offer services in the highest demand must frequently turn people away. This isn’t to suggest that insurance companies are to blame for all, or even most, of the cases involving underserved populations. There are a host of contributing factors that start with more rural and impoverished areas. This is on top of underlying state demographics, which show a rapidly growing population that, more than likely, also needs more mental health services per capita. And yet, it’s precisely because Utah is facing so many other challenges to access that it makes no sense to continue a closed panel system that increases barriers to access.

 

Related Insurance Issues

You can find information about Utah’s closed insurance panels through the Department of Administrative Services. This information is most often relevant for those who are looking into the Rules for the Coordination of Benefits.

 

A Big Deal for Individual Access

To this point, it’s not just the day-to-day access that potentially suffers through closed insurance panels. The policy also creates disincentives for mental health providers to ask for and be persistent about getting an invitation to panels that will allow them to better serve client populations.

Here are a few scenarios that demonstrate specific areas of concern:

  • Someone with a serious mental health issue makes the effort to contact a provider within the insurance network. This first provider has a full schedule and provides a referral to another provider that’s difficult to access geographically. Instead of getting help, the individual gets discouraged and ignores crucial mental health needs.
  • Someone who depends on mental health insurance coverage is struggling with a mental illness. They’ve just developed a strong therapeutic relationship with a mental health professional, but a major life change in the family requires a switch to different coverage and—even though the provider is willing to go through the 3-4 month process necessary to expand their practice’s insurance referral sources—the panel is closed. The individual feels compelled to look for access elsewhere, but the mental health outcome isn’t as positive.

 

Three Ways to Take Action

  1. Get Help First. If you or someone you know is trying to get help, don’t let an initial setback stop you. Don’t let a lack of access to a single provider serve as an excuse that prevents you from getting help altogether.
  2. Share a Story. If you’ve been part of a situation that demonstrates why closed insurance panels do or do not work, tell us the story.
  3. Lend Your Voice. Contact the Utah Insurance Department to express your opposition to this policy, or if you have a personal grievance about the services provided by your insurance company, you can file a complaint.
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Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health Labels

The stigma of a mental health diagnosis threatens to harm health outcomes for individuals who experience the maltreatment that comes with social stigma. By parsing out how labels are used within the mental health industry and mainstream culture, we can identify ways to reduce the power of various stigmas.

In one way at least, mental illness is its own stigmatizing label in that the category is a catch-all for a diverse set of people with discrete mental disorders, brain diseases, and syndromes. Often, the first step in reducing mental health stigmatization in ourselves is to recognize the specific mental health condition and its individual presentation. In this way, we can avoid misconceptions and prejudices that come when we paint everybody with the same brush.

With this in mind, strategies for overcoming stigmas must be considered for different populations with mental illness. There are, however, general rules and instructive examples that can help point anybody in the right direction.

 

Tracing Stigmas Related to Intellectual Functioning

History shows that, to some extent, the stigma of mental health is inevitable. There is likely no better example of than intellectual functioning. In the late 19th century, the terms moron, imbecile, and idiot were well-defined and perfectly acceptable medical terms for different levels of intellectual disability. Eventually, these terms made their way into mainstream culture where they were used to stigmatizing effect.

The medical community then came up with a more technical label: mental retardation. As time wore on, the old labels became so popularized they ceased to be attached to intellectual disability at all. Moron and idiot are now used to describe casual mistakes made by people who do not have an intellectual disability. As for mental retardation, it became the new stigma, forcing the medical community to respond again with a new label: intellectual disability.

It’s hard to see how this pattern will be broken given that labels are necessary to help us study and understand the different classifications of mental illness. Without this body of knowledge, it would be impossible to develop a standard of care with individual treatment plans designed to improve mental health outcomes. This isn’t to say that word choice is a frivolous exercise, but it’s only one of many verbal and nonverbal forms of communication that contribute to a social environment in which individuals feel marginalized and vulnerable to persecution.

 

Fuzzy Math and Mental Health Stigmas

Even numerical representations are not immune to stigmatization. Most people have a preconception of an individual with a 79 IQ even though this figure has a considerable margin of error and is a composite score of several different subscales. Plus, numbers often confer an inflated sense of authority and confidence. Only recently have courts and other civil authorities begun to change direction by eliminating a strict numerical cutoff for intellectual functioning and disability benefits.

 

Reducing the Social Stigma of Mental Health Conditions

If the first step of reducing stigma is to see an individual as something more than just their mental health condition, the next step is expressing these more nuanced observations. So-and-so has such an infectious laugh…or an empathetic way about them…or a nifty trick for this common problem. More than just showing approval, however, we must also look to callout instances of social stigma where we find them. Given that social stigma is society’s discontentment and unfair treatment of individuals, it’s important to remember the change that has to occur is in society, not those who struggle with mental illness. We must monitor our general attitudes toward mental illness, including our use of labels.

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Understanding What Causes Mental Illness

What causes mental illness is an incredibly complicated and open-ended question, but it’s also one that’s asked every day by people who are struggling with an illness. What we offer here is an overview of the different types of causes, as well as the different ways this question may be framed. This information is no substitute for the expertise and experience of a qualified mental health professional, but it should help you understand how these professionals approach this topic.

 

What Causes Mental Illness?

Diseases vs. Disorders

Let’s start with the basic fact that we rarely, if ever, understand all of what causes mental illness. If the scientific community has a thorough understanding of the mechanisms and course of a mental illness—known as the etiology—then it’s referred to a disease. When we lack this understanding, it’s referred to a disorder and, by definition, the cause is harder to pin down. This distinction is crucially important in making the right diagnosis for the client.

Consider, for example, depression and dementia. An individual may show a textbook case of depression based on clinical symptoms, even though we don’t yet understand exactly what’s going on in the person’s brain. The diagnosis is major depressive disorder and is distinguished from other types of depression based on the symptomology.

Another individual may show clinical signs of dementia. There’s no definitive test for Alzheimer’s until an autopsy is performed, and there are other diseases that cause dementia. Yet, we still call it a disease because we understand, in general, how Alzheimer’s works when it does occur. Thus, the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease, which is then specified as possible or probable.

 

Risk Factors and Correlations

Like other health conditions, there is a whole list of genetic and environmental factors that elevate the risk of getting specific disorders or any type of mental illness. Often, these factors are broken down into subcategories—genetic disorders, genetic predispositions, pre- and perinatal factors, lifestyle choices, occupational hazards—that are relevant to the specific illness in question.

This area is a huge focus of research which seeks to decrease the overall rate of mental illness, even though it’s impossible to identify a cause in any particular case. The scientific community seems to identify new risk factors all the time. Recently, a 20-year study from the National Institute of Health showed that farmers who used fumigants or organochlorine insecticides were 80 and 90 percent more likely to get depression, respectively. This should lead to stricter regulation of these chemicals, but it’s still overly simplistic to say insecticides cause depression.

 

Proximal Causes

A lot of mental illnesses have a precipitating event: the death of a loved one leads to depression. Emotional distress or drug use can trigger the onset of schizophrenia. The list goes on and on. Other individuals are more vulnerable to the repeated exposure of commonplace triggers that can activate a new mental health episode of some kind.

It’s often important to identify and understand these proximal causes as part of mental health treatment. Just keep in mind that there’s a big difference between the straw that broke the camel’s back and a complete account of what causes mental illness. Moreover, we can’t always say for sure what is a coincidence, what is a precipitating event, and what is a primary cause.

 

Specific and Isolated Causes

Even aside from diseases, there are examples in which the cause can be clearly defined. Often, these are temporary, medical, and/or intentionally induced. Prolonged exposure to total sensory deprivation, extreme vitamin deficiencies, and certain types of drugs can create psychotic symptoms and other signs of mental illness, even in those individuals who would not experience them otherwise.

 

Get Help from Mental Health Professional in Utah

No matter what causes your mental illness, Mountain Mental Health encourages you to get the help you need from a qualified health provider.

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Learn about the Three Types of Depression Clinics

Depression clinics are pretty easily divided into one of three types: outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatment services. Choosing the type of clinic is not a matter of personal preference but depends on the nature and status of the individual struggling with depression. Understanding who to contact can lead to faster access to services and can better prepare an individual who would benefit from treatment. The following summaries can help people understand what’s available and what mental health needs are served by each clinic.

 

  1. Outpatient Therapy: Because these offices tend to provide therapy services for a wide range of mental illnesses, they’re rarely called depression clinics, but they represent the first-line of defense for many individuals. Clinically depressed individuals should not hesitate to find a therapist who can provide personalized talk therapy services. Even limited exposure to therapy can lead to improved mental health outcomes. Aside from a therapist, a physician’s office is another type of clinic where individuals can get initial assessment services and possibly antidepressant medication. Finally, transcranial magnetic stimulation, a newer treatment protocol, is an example of outpatient therapy for severe and treatment-resistant depression cases.

 

  1. Inpatient Care Services: For some individuals, the depression is so overwhelming that more immediate and intensive care is required. Inpatient depression clinics provide observation and medical stabilization services for those individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others or who are incapable of completing daily living activities. Different clinics have different guidelines for how long these services are provided, but anywhere from 1-5 days is a common time frame for inpatient care. Some health facilities in Utah also offer outpatient/inpatient hybrid services such as day treatment programs. Other facilities have specialized programs that last 1-4 weeks and might be seen as an inpatient-residential hybrid treatment.

 

  1. Residential Programs: These programs usually last anywhere from a few weeks to a full year or more. More than just length of stay, these treatment centers are often designed with specific populations and themes in mind. In Utah, wilderness programs are common for adolescents who struggle with severe depression, but they’re far from the only kind of treat. Some facilities focus on art, music, and other expressive therapies. There are also geriatric residential programs for individuals struggling with depression in their elderly years or specifically as an end-of-life issue. Other facilities specialize in dual-diagnosis treatment for individuals who are struggling with depression and substance abuse. Some are connected to medical centers or large health provider networks; others strive to fill more of a niche role.

 

Get Help Finding Depression Clinics in Utah

No matter what type of clinic makes sense for the current depressive episode, we can help you find it. Even when there’s geographic and financial coverage barriers that must be overcome, it’s crucial not to avoid treatment. Whether there’s a substantial disruption to the person’s faculties and level of functioning or the stakes have become life-threatening, don’t wait any longer to get help.

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Mental Health Education: Not Too Little, But Not Too Much

Psychoeducation is the official term for the type of mental health education that is offered to individuals about their specific mental illness. At Mental Health Access Utah, we can provide general information about mental disorders, finding the right Utah health providers, financial coverage programs, and research and services development. What we can’t do is explain how your individual symptomology, diagnosis, and treatment relates to a “textbook” case.

Thus, it’s important to understand that you can do all the research you want, but psychoeducation should still involve coordination with a qualified mental health professional. This professional will work to understand the intricacies of your individual mental health condition. This leads not only to better literature for the individual to consume, but also a clear understanding of its potential benefit for your mental health outcome.

 

The Right Amount of Education for You

There are any number of mental health conditions that may respond positively to psychoeducation, but there are a handful disorders that have particularly strong evidence for its effect: anxiety, depression, eating disorder, borderline personality, and schizophrenia. A lot of the effect really does boil down to knowledge is power. Increased understanding tends to lead to increased control over one’s mental disorder. But even when psychoeducation is an important component of treatment, it’s not always a silver bullet, especially for serious and/or persistent mental disorders.

Moreover, there can be something of a downside when psychoeducation is taken to extremes. Individuals with high verbal comprehension skills who experience treatment-resistant depression may spend months or even years learning about their mental illness. Eventually, the sense can set in that “they’ve read it all and nothing works,” which can deepen the despair the individual feels. Again, this is another reason why education on mental health is best done under the guidance of a mental health professional.

 

The Effects of Education on Mental Health

On a different but related note, a higher level of educational attainment is also correlated with mental health. It’s well documented that, generally speaking, the more education someone has the more mental health they enjoy. Part of this has to do with the fact that higher education levels are correlated with higher income levels, but even after controlling for socio-economic status, it’s clear education has a role to play in mental health.

There are a few notable exceptions, however. Probably the biggest exception is a mismatch between education level and occupational attainment. Specifically, research has shown that people who are overqualified for their current job or who are too qualified to find gainful employment are more likely to suffer from depression.

Keep in mind, too, that just because people with lots of education tend to have higher levels of mental health doesn’t mean post-graduate programs are responsible. Given the unique challenges to getting help for mental illness in a doctoral program, few people find chicken soup for the soul in these settings.

 

First Learn How to Get Help

Regardless of the mental disorder you’re dealing with, regardless of how much or how little you’ve already learned, regardless if you’re in school now, never finished, or never started, we can help you find the mental health services in Utah that make sense for you.

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