Mental Health Awareness
Author: Erica Johnson
Faculty Supervisor: Maryanne Sandberg, Ed.D., RN
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults and children living in the United States will experience a mental illness at some time in their lives. Mental health affects various aspects of our lives; especially our behavior and mood. This service-learning project focuses on educating mental health patients and their families about services offered within the communities of Chatham County. The goal is to give the needed support that will allow the mental health patient to live within their community and not in a state facility. I was able to partner with a community nurse from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). This organization allowed me to access and learn about the different programs the state of Georgia offers; and about other organizations in the community that service mental health individuals. Once this was accomplished, the DBHDD nurse and I went to the individuals’ homes and day programs to do assessments and health risk screening. Early intervention is key to correct problems observed during these visits. This included the mental health aspect; as well as any diagnosed condition (new or chronic). The overall mission is to provide safe and accountable care to the individual. In the future, it is hoped that mortality rates will continue to decline, and more individuals will remain at home with their families.