The country hails West Virginia for its spirit of independence. The mountainous State, however, has a problem; its mental health woes. People living in heaven on earth, according to experts, are suffering from mental health issues. They attribute the situation to social isolation and lack of access to healthcare.
According to Sade Miller, West Virginians are living in a false paradise.
Sade Miller, a university student in West Virginia is one among the main facilitators of the school’s branch of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. It is a non-profit organization working to help students take care of their mental health.
The Heaven With A Catch – West Virginia
According to her, adults in West Virginia, especially in rural regions, impart to them a false sense of self-reliance. According to them, the effective way to overcome issues like anxiety is just ignoring them. They also taught that reading bible and praying will take care of everything. Adults even advised them to freeze their minds with the help of alcohol and drugs.
When these teenagers grow into adulthood, they may developmental disorders. And these are sure to affect their daily life.
Miller is a senior researching the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. And she plans to become a behavioral health therapist for children and young adults.
She says that children there grow without understanding that mental and physical health goes hand in hand. They follow their loved ones and grow up believing that either God or drugs will take care of their mental health.
The State is hailed as “almost heaven”. But according to Miller, the problem is a deep-rooted one. Most of the people in West Virginia are not that mentally healthy.
Studies were done in the field attest to this observation. Data reveals that West Virginia is a state with a high percentage of people suffering from mental disorders like anxiety or depression. It is also a state where a large number of people die by suicide, overdose of drugs, or substance abuse every year.
Almost 19% of adults in West Virginia have reported that they experienced some kind of a mental affliction up to two weeks a month. Furthermore, one among four beneficiaries of Medicare here suffers from depression.
West Virginia is also home to the Five Counties with the lowest score in mental health at the national level.
Health officials attribute the following reasons to the poor state of mind of West Virginians in general:
- Substance abuse
- A deep sense of independence that makes requesting psychological assistance a stigma
This State is also grappling with an acute shortage of mental health experts. This gap too may be contributing to the sorry state of affairs, experts say.
The problem is seen mostly in the mountainous regions. But even large cities in the State are not exceptions. There too, people suffer badly due to the stigma around mental health issues.
The shortage of psychologists implies that patients have to wait long before they can get some form of help. This makes it tough for patients facing a critical stage in their life.
Low-income sections of the people suffer the most in such instances. But in West Virginia, this is a problem that can be seen in all demographics.
Fortunately, numerous organizations are striving to help West Virginia. Initiatives are made to make mental health available on their phones or through computers. Some are also using artificial intelligence for this purpose.
People are taught to overcome depression by changing their perceptions about their situations. Experts are also using the techniques like ECBT and virtual visits for the purpose.
Virtual psychiatrists help patients through their phones and computers. ECBT lets users acquire the treatment they require from the comfort of their own homes.
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