From getting enough sleep to healthy habits such as getting out in nature, exercising or simply taking time to unplug, the importance of self-care in maintaining mental health gets a lot of attention.
Those things are certainly important for mind and body health. But for some, mental health problems are more serious, and cause significant disruptions in mood, thinking and behavior. This can affect their quality of life, and that of their loved ones, sometimes in profound ways.
The good news is that mental health conditions are very treatable, often with a combination of medications, therapy and expert help from psychiatrists, psychologists and licensed clinical therapists.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 2 to 8. The annual observance is a time to raise awareness about the symptoms of mental health disorders, and to continue to reduce the stigma associated with these illnesses.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is also good time to remind North Carolina residents that excellent treatment options are available to them and their families.
Research is continually uncovering more about mental health conditions, says Dr. Ashwin Patkar, chief of Avance Psychiatry. Along with that has come treatment advances that are helping people to heal from harder-to-treat conditions such as treatment resistant depression and chronic pain disorders.
“I urge people to get treatment if they are struggling,” Patkar says. “At Avance, we are dedicated to making sure our patients have access to the latest treatment breakthroughs, such as esketamine (Spravato) for depression that hasn’t responded to other medications. Our goal is to enable our patients to be able to be full participants in their lives, free from the debilitating symptoms of mental health disorders.”
The scope of the problem
If you, a loved one, or a friend is struggling with a mental health disorder, you’re not alone.
- Nearly one in five (53 million) U.S. adults live with a mental illness, ranging from mild to severe, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Four in 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, and 5 percent have had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.
- Young adults ages 18 to 25 years were the most impacted, with nearly 31 percent experiencing a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, compared to 25 percent of adults ages 26 to 49 and 14.5 percent of adults 50 and older.
The scope of the problem was big before the COVID-19 pandemic. But surveys show that worries about getting sick, combined with loneliness and a loss of social support to help people get through the tough times, made mental health problem worse.
Workers in certain professions, including healthcare, service industries and law enforcement, who remained on their job despite tremendous stress and uncertainty, faced special challenges. Many families also had to deal with the grief of losing loved ones to the virus. According to a March 2022 report from the World Health Organization (WHO ), the prevalence of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic rose by 25 percent.
Avance Centers of Excellence: Effective, Compassionate Care
Avance Centers of Excellence in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health provides the most advanced treatments for a full spectrum of psychiatric and behavioral health needs, including mental health, substance use and chronic pain disorders. Serving patients in personalized, outpatient settings in the Raleigh-Durham area and Charlotte, Avance Centers of Excellence offers effective, evidence-based treatments for those with mild, moderate and severe, longer-lasting mental health conditions.
Avance Centers of Excellence is led by a team of distinguished psychiatrists that includes Dr. Patkar, who has been listed in the Best Doctors in America continuously since 2009; Dr. Steven Prakken, the former director of the Medical Pain Service for Duke University Health System; and Dr. Robert Millet, one first physicians in the U.S. to use the groundbreaking medication, esketamine (Spravato), to treat depression. They work in collaboration with more than 70 licensed clinical psychologists, therapists and other mental health professionals to ensure their North Carolina patients get the care they need to heal.
While other mental health providers are either not taking new patients or have long wait times for appointments, Avance Centers of Excellence can schedule most patients within two weeks. Services offered include:
- Ketamine infusion therapy and other cutting-edge approaches for treatment resistant depression, which affects about 30 percent of people with depression  .
- Medical Pain Service, which specializes in treating in patients with complex, difficult-to-treat chronic pain who haven’t found adequate relief elsewhere.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to ease cravings for those struggling with an alcohol use disorder or addiction to opioids.
- Medication management to ensure patients are taking medications correctly, that they are not experiencing unnecessary side effects, and that they are seeing benefit from the medications they take.
- Specialized therapeutic programs and behavioral therapy, including in-person and virtual visits, individual and group.
For an appointment, call Avance Centers of Excellence in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, 984.263.0846. Address: 7850 Brier Creek Parkway, Raleigh. Telehealth appointments available.