By J. Scott Campbell, ACSW, LCSW, Clinical Director
At Samaritan we provide both evidence-based as well as faith-based approaches (when indicated) in treating a wide variety of mental health concerns. We believe in “The 3 H’s” – the instilling and offering of HOPE, the providing of HELP – helping people help themselves through our professional services, and the encouragement of HEALING as people find solutions to life’s challenges and move onto a path of Recovery and a life of health and happiness.
Often it is so hard for people to take that “first step” and make that “first call”. Many of us have a hard time admitting the need for help, though all of us know of someone in our family, in our neighborhood, our church or our workplace who have struggled with depression, stress, anxiety, challenges within a marriage or with a child, or with alcohol or substance abuse. One out of every 4 or 5 of us will experience some type of mental health issue in our lifetime, yet seeking help is still a difficult and often scary thing to consider. The stigma of seeking mental health care and acknowledging that an issue may be present is often so difficult to overcome. We worry about the effect that this may have on our job, on our marriage, on our friendships, etc. and therefore often try to “tough it out” or “get through it” ourselves. Much has been written and spoken about Stigma recently and there have been many campaigns to bring mental health issues to the forefront and “out of the back room”. Such campaigns as “Say It Out Loud” encourage becoming more open about the behavioral health issues that we all face
without fear of shame or other repercussions. Much has been learned about the importance of treating
a behavioral health issue the same way we would seek treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure and more and more the approach of integrating primary care medical treatment with behavioral health treatment is considered the preferred approach as research has shown us how the long term effects of a serious mental health problem can negatively affect our physical health and life expectancy.
At Samaritan, we believe in utilizing “People First Language”, recognizing that a mental health problem that a person may be experiencing, does not have to define them as a person. It is an issue or an illness that they are dealing with, but it does not have to define them as a human being. Someone may be experiencing depression or may be struggling with bipolar disorder, but that does not make them that diagnosis as their entire being or identity. We work diligently with the person to identify Strengths in their life that can be built upon and expanded as they move into their “Journey of Recovery” from depression, anxiety or whatever issues have been challenging them in their lives.
Spirituality can also play an important part in someone’s recovery from a mental health issue. Just as the instilling and offering of HOPE plays an important first step in the process, the encouraging and exploring of someone’s Spirituality may also play an important part as they move forward in facing and dealing with life’s issues and finding solutions to their challenges.