Stigma Free Zones for mental health are essential throughout our community. Among the most important venues to stomp out this stigma is in healthcare organizations themselves. It should be as normalized to ask about mental and emotional well-being as it should be to take a blood pressure or temperature reading.
In family medicine, we ask about depression, anxiety, substance abuse alongside talking about medications for heart disease, blood pressure, or diabetes, and for good reason: research shows that patients do better when we care for a person’s body, mind and spirit together, as part of whole-person care.
Our hope is that patients will feel as comfortable coming in for the earliest signs of emotional distress, to take care of any sign of mental illness before it worsens or causes major dysfunction. Coming in early and focusing on prevention is the key to well-being for so many illnesses, and it should be the same for mental health.
Dr. Anne C. Jones