LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — What is the state of America’s mental health? It’s a question under the microscope during National Recovery Month.
A report from Mental Health America finds anxiety and depression has increased by 93% since 2019.
Yet the percentage of adults not seeking professional treatment remains at pre-COVID double digit percentages.
Locally there’s a renewed push against self-stigma, societal stigma, mental health, substance abuse disorder and the drive to reach more employers.
Beginning at age four, Maggie Hunt had her eyes set on getting to the top of the ballet world.
”For me that was the start, I was off to the races and there was nothing after that,” Hunt said.
But behind the scenes, Hunt says climbing the ballet hierarchy took athleticism, endurance and a big focus on body image.
”You know they want you to be a certain figure. They want you to look a certain way,” Hunt said. “They want you to be a certain weight to fit into these costumes. So as I started progressing in substances I found that if I did some of these certain drugs then I wasn’t really hungry anymore for the sweets and the junk and all that kind of stuff — so I didn’t have to worry about a weight increase or anything like that and I would get praised for being thin.”
Hunt was self-medicating with prescription drugs and alcohol. Eventually graduating high school with a drug addiction and began a cycle landing in treatment centers.
”I did that a couple of times,” she said.
In 2009, she overdosed which changed the course of her life — personally and professionally, moving forward.
Ii just want businesses to be proactive — I want them to take a look at prevention instead of the reaction or what to do after the fact,” she said.
Hunt is a community relations representative for Retreat Behavioral Health, a leading mental health and substance use treatment center.
She’s responsible for visiting approximately 100 hospitals, doctor’s offices and businesses a month; educating them on addiction, substance use disorder, stigma and intervening to get employees who need it into treatment.
“How we can kind of ban together to take this on as a whole for our community,” she said.
”We’re looking at what really going on with you and what can we do to support your growth,” added Molly May, Retreat Behavioral Health regional vice-president and executive director. “How can we make sure that we’re managing that — from individual counseling to group counseling.”
Retreat Behavioral Health leaves few professions untouched. Live panel discussions available on YouTube include series like “Behind the Badge” which tackles mental health in law enforcement. Learn more about it, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_BaeLEobVY
Retreat Behavioral Health says while national recovery month reignites a lot of conversations, they’re urging employers and their workers to review their benefit packages.
“When you’re choosing benefits make sure that there is something that has a mental health or substance use disorder benefit in the insurance as well,” May said. “A lot of insurances don’t necessarily have that. It’s something that’s definitely increasing but that benefit is something that you want to make sure your employees have access to because it is real.”
Retreat says relationships are key to long-term recovery. To learn more about their services visit, here: https://www.retreatbehavioralhealth.com/
To read this year’s State of Mental Health in America report visit, here: https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america