May 01, 2020
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time where we nationally bring focus to the importance of cultivating good mental health and the services that can help you reach that goal. During the global pandemic, mental health services are very important as people find themselves experiencing significant stressors, they may not have experienced before.
We have quickly responded to the COVID-19 crisis while still providing Dallas County with comprehensive mental health services. Mental health should always be a priority, though. And, at Metrocare, we always make it one.
So why is there a national Mental Health Awareness Month? Consider these staggering statistics that shine a light on mental health being a national problem:
- 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.
- 3.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018 (9.2 million people).
- The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.
- People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 in the U.S. 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition.
While mental health is a national issue, it is also very much a local issue. The estimated number of adults living with serious mental illnesses in Dallas County in 2015 was over 88,000 – or approximately 4.9%. An estimated 220,000 Texas veterans have a mental health condition, of whom more than 50,000 have a serious mental illness (SMI).
Access to mental health services is a critical issue throughout North Texas and the greater Dallas area is no exception. Variables such as insurance status, housing stability, physical access, and cultural competence all influence accessibility and should be addressed moving forward to promote mental well-being.
That’s where Metrocare comes in. Metrocare gathers professionals from every branch of the treatment continuum to provide mental health services to everyone from individuals and families to veterans, from parolees to the homeless. The Altshuler Center for Education and Research (ACER) offers top-tier training for physicians, advanced practice nurses (APNs), counselors, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that all citizens across Dallas County are getting access to quality mental healthcare. Together, these professionals help ensure support is ready and available no matter when or where it’s needed.
However, we can’t do it without you. In fact, your commitment to helping spread awareness of the need for mental health services and your financial contribution to the work we do is integral to the services we provide.
Your help is needed now more than ever. During this pandemic, our telehealth services will be reimbursed. However, there are many programs – such as our autism services and children’s therapies – that will not be. That is not stopping us from providing these much-needed services despite the financial burden. Our conversion to telehealth has ensured that the mental health and disability needs of Dallas County continue to be met during a time we are needed the most. This conversion to telehealth services has already created a bill of $200,000 in expenses to make sure these vital services remained intact.
Now more than ever, we need your help to keep our efforts going.
North Texas Giving Day
Through collaborative efforts of the Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day, the Dallas Cowboys, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, an emergency response day of giving will take place on Tuesday, May 5. North Texas Giving Tuesday now will hopefully encourage donor support for nonprofit organizations reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations like Metrocare.
How can your donation help provide services for everyone in the Dallas metropolitan area? Your donation, big or small, can help in the following ways: Giving levels:
- $25 will provide a co-pay for medication for a mental health client who just lost his job.
- $50 will provide staffing for Metrocare’s COVID-19 Support Line. Initially, we received double the number of calls per day. Now, 3 weeks into the stay at home orders our calls to the agency are up nearly 20%.
- $100 will cover the Telehealth visit to help parents of children with autism to manage the quarantine.
- $150 will get one no-touch infrared thermometer to keep staff safe.
- $225 will help procure a Zoom license for one nurse practitioner to support an average of 160 patients each month.
- $500 will get supplies for children and adolescents in poverty to stay active and engaged when not able to go to school. Supplies are sanitized and delivered to the doorstep as care packages at apartments and homes across Dallas County.
Please consider giving what you can to our mission of providing quality mental health services to the people of Dallas County. If you don’t want to wait until May 5, early giving is now open through May 4. Just go the Metrocare Services North Texas Giving Day page to help us serve our community’s mental health needs now and in the future.
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