Monroe Area Resources for Mental Health, Mental Illness Available
The terms ‘crazy’ and ‘unstable’ have become derogatory terms due to society’s perception of mental illness, local professionals say, and this stigma is causing many people to suffer unnecessarily.
The effort to destigmatize mental health issues aims to help more people become more willing to seek the treatment they need.
Kimberly Peters, a behavior analyst and former therapist at Monroe, said people tend to associate mental health with not being productive. Peters said when you see someone who is homeless, the ultimate assumption is that they may have mental health issues, which isn’t always the case.
“If someone had cancer, we wouldn’t stigmatize it,” Peters said. “If someone had diabetes, we wouldn’t stigmatize it and mental health is another disease. Why is something in your brain perceived as something so different from something in your body?”
Stress, depression and holidays:Counseling professionals give tips for coping with holiday stressors
Mental health has become stigmatized politically, socially and historically, according to Northeast Delta Human Services Authority Executive Director Monteic A. Sizer.
“For political reasons, some public policies were created to favor one group over another,” Sizer said. “For social reasons, people have developed problems through social groups, whether it’s their family, whether it’s their peers. Historically, there are cultural and structural barriers that still favor one group over another.”
Sizer said recognizing that all humans experience emotional distress in life is a way to encourage mental health.
“You also normalize it by saying political and social factors influence mental health outcomes,” Sizer said. “Science confirms that approximately 80% of all mental health and primary care problems can be attributed to social and environmental factors. Genetic factors contribute only to a lesser extent.”
There are disparities between white and black communities, Sizer said, but there are also disparities between economically marginalized black and white people versus those who are not marginalized or poor.
“The barriers that keep black people from seeking services are largely social,” Sizer said. “We call these barriers ‘negative social determinants of health’ and again they are contributing factors that create the atmosphere for other people to need our services.”
Sizer said some of those barriers include lack of insurance, lack of transportation to treatment, not knowing how to navigate mental health systems, and discriminatory practices in mental health systems.
Domestic Violence:Resources are available to help break the cycle
Peters said she was unsure whether a group of people receiving mental health care could be based on nationality or the size of a municipality. Peters said larger metropolitan areas, like Atlanta or Dallas, offer more mental health resources.
“It seems to be the size of the city and its resources,” Peters said. “I don’t think you can ignore the culture where the person is from. New Orleans is a big city, but it’s a known fact that there is a large population of untreated mentally ill people. I think race plays a role, and the size of the town and the resources invested in it, the choices you have, and the bigger hospitals also make a big difference.”
Here is a list of resources available to people seeking counseling services:
- Behavioral Development Services, 2106 N 7th Street #230, 318-600-6640
- Comprehensive Mental Health Center, 1301 Thomas Road, 318-329-9455
- First West Counseling Center, 212 Cypress Street, 318-322-1427
- Northeast Delta HSA, 4800 South Grand Street, 318-362-3339
- Pathways to Recovery, 2106 N 7th Street #106, 318-381-5696
- Preventative Measures, 198 Parkway Circle, 318-600-4225
- Wellspring Alliance for Families, 1904 Royal Avenue, 318-651-9314
Support local journalism by subscribing to https://cm.thenewsstar.com/specialoffer.