There are volumes of statistics that illustrate the number of people who suffer from behavioral illness each year. But your question lies closer to home: What about me?
The daily stress, joys, uncertainties, ups and downs of life are expected. We usually cope with daily pressures and problems without professional assistance. Even small set-backs and disappointments can be managed by activities such as talking, sharing time with family and friends, sleep, exercise, meditation or prayer.
Following are some of the most common questions people ask when life gets to be a bit too much.
Q: Why would I consider seeking behavioral health services?
There are numerous signs that you may want to seek help. You may start to wonder about needing behavioral health help when you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily living. You may have lost interest in activities you normally enjoy, worry excessively, sleep poorly, think unusual thoughts or become unusually forgetful.
In severe situations, family, friends or doctors may express concern about you. "You just don’t seem like yourself. What’s wrong?" They may tell you your drinking is out of control or that you've become irritable and angry. Or they may simply pull away from you, leaving you feeling abandoned and alone.
Q: How do I find out if I need help?
There are numerous ways to determine if you should take the next step and seek professional help. You might start by talking to your family doctor about your concerns. Your doctor may suggest you see a behavioral health professional for an evaluation.
Of course, if you are in extreme distress, perhaps in danger of harming yourself or others, please seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room.
There are signs and symptoms for many behavioral health problems. However, you must remember that only a behavioral health professional can properly diagnose these problems.
Q: Will I be branded "strange" or "crazy" if I talk about seeking help?
Many people are anxious and embarrassed when they become aware that their personal problems may require the help of behavioral health professionals. It is very easy to think, "this will just go away sooner or later, " or "I just have a bad attitude and I need to try harder." Some people are angry with loved ones or doctors that suggest counseling or psychological help. We now know that behavioral health problems are medical concerns, not issues of attitude, ability or strength of character. If someone who cares about you expresses concern for your well-being, thank them and seek further evaluation.
Q: How do I get a help?
You can call Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital Behavioral Health Services at 262-251-1005 at any time for more information.
Q: What happens when I call? Who do I talk to?
Your call will be answered by a behavioral health professional who can discuss your concerns and problems. This call is confidential and will provide you with information to better understand and plan positive options.
Q: What's next?
That depends on what you and the behavioral health professional decide. We may provide you with information about community resources, or recommend you take one of the following actions:
- See your medical doctor.
- Schedule an appointment for outpatient behavioral health services.
- Come to the hospital for further assessment or inpatient service.
Our recommendation really depends on your individual concerns. We try to take the time to explain your options and to guide you through the process of getting what you need.
Q: Can I call even if my insurance company says I may not be covered?
Absolutely. We're here to help you, even it that means helping you get services elsewhere.
Q: What does all this mean for me?
If the questions above or others have crossed your mind, here's something you may not know: Behavioral health problems are medical problems, no different from infections, high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma. The difference is that behavioral illnesses are disorders of the brain and nervous system that affect mood, thought, behavior and relationships.
About 20 percent of the U.S. population are affected by behavioral disorders during a given year - more people than all cancers or respiratory conditions. Only cardiovascular diseases has a slightly greater prevalence.
The bottom line is this: you are finding out if you have a chemical imbalance or disorder of the brain, not a problem with your character or attitude!