BALTIMORE — Too often, mental health and substance abuse issues take a toll on the health of our community, causing pain and anguish and changing a family forever. For many years, these issues were among the least discussed but most prevalent, medical problems affecting our family members, neighbors and friends.
Unfortunately because of the real and perceived stigma these issues carry, they are not widely considered, or adequately addressed.
Approximately one in six Baltimore City residents report that their mental health was “not good” for eight or more days over the past month, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors, nurses and other health care providers often find that people living with chronic disease also have a mental health and/or substance abuse issue, which can make their underlying medical conditions more difficult to treat. Thanks to concerted efforts statewide and across the country, mental health and substance abuse are now being discussed on more public platforms. To contribute to the ongoing conversation on mental and behavioral health issues, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) have partnered to host “Not All Wounds are Visible: A Community Conversation About Mental Health and Substance Abuse.”
Taking place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the UMB Campus Center on 621 West Lombard Street in downtown Baltimore (across from the University of Maryland Medical Center), the event seeks to bring mental health and substance abuse issues to light, provide members of the community an opportunity to ask questions and share information about the challenge these issues present, and offer tools to address them.
All members of the public, including:parents, caregivers, family members and friends of individuals living with mental health or substance abuse issues, teachers, faith leaders, public safety officials are invited to attend to learn more about what mental health is and what it’s not,the importance of mental wellness, and principles of recovery that people can use to handle daily stress and anxiety.
There will be engaging discussions on topics including: Addiction and Substance Abuse; Mental Wellness and Recovery; Trauma and Violence; Mood Disorders; Maternal and Child Mental Health; Suicide Prevention; Depression and Anxiety; Domestic Violence; and Elderly Mental Health.
Highlighting the event is keynote speaker Kay R. Jamison, Ph.D., a psychologist, educator, best-selling author, and leading authority on bipolar disorder. Dr. Jamison, who herself has lived with bipolar disorder since early adulthood, will address the myths and stigma surrounding mental health. Dr. Jamison personally struggled with severe mania,depression, and suicidal tendencies for decades, so she provides a unique insight into the clinical and non-clinical challenges of people with serious mood disorders.
The conference will also include an expert-panel discussion, breakout sessions, and a resource fair with a variety of vendors who work in the fields of mental and behavioral health. As a community partner, we believe it is important to elevate and broaden the dialogue on mental health and substance abuse with a focus on improving the overall health of our community.
For more information about the event or to register for free, please visit: www.umms.org/communityhealth.
Donna Jacobs is Senior Vice President, Government, Regulatory Affairs and Community Health at the University of Maryland Medical System.