Individual and group therapy sessions, as well as medication management, are available. Qualified patients must be at least 18 years old, under the supervision of a physician, and compliant with medication recommendations.Despite the growing awareness of mental illness, funding for social service organizations, such as MHACF, has been drastically cut.“If we are candid, we can all identify someone, either in our families or circle of friends, who [is] dealing with mental health needs,” Batchelor said.Though many mental health disorders are a result of brain chemistry or injury, a growing number of cases manifest from what can be classified as situation-induced stress, such as job loss, financial difficulties, divorce or personal tragedy.Val Demings, one of the first to record a Mental Health Minute, conveyed the importance of seeking help in today’s stressful environment before making a poor decision that could end in tragedy.Batchelor emphasized the importance of a mental health assessment.“You can pick up the phone and call MHACF,” he said. “They are like the air traffic controller that can help with evaluation and guide you to resources for treatment. Most important is that everything is strictly confidential. If someone believes they may have a mental health issue and are hesitant to address it, they should do it not only for their own sake, but for the welfare of their family.”The behavior of those with mental illness affects everyone around them, especially their loved ones.“You can’t have healthy, well-adjusted children without functioning adults,” Crawford said. “Often, people don’t know what they need or what is available, especially those without insurance. We can help.”A percentage of those who fail to seek treatment end up either homeless or in jail. Perry recognized long ago that there was a need for a secured facility other than a jail to receive those who were held under the Baker Act or who have committed minor violations of law because of a mental disorder.He spearheaded an initiative that resulted in the creation of the Central Receiving Center, which now serves as a national model.“We are fortunate to have the CRC here in Orange County, because we are able to divert a significant number of individuals away from jail and into a treatment facility, where they can get the help they need,” said Orange County Sheriff and Dr. Phillips resident Jerry Demings. “Incarceration costs a lot more than what would be spent on treatment and prevention in a mental health facility.”CRC is operated by Lakeside Hospital and Clinics at Princeton Plaza through a contract with the Orange County government. Perry has remained involved in the program, serving as chair of the governing board.Initial contact with individuals exhibiting abnormal behavior plays an important role in how a situation progresses. As part of their basic training, police officers receive instruction in identifying people who have mental health issues. Furthering the effort, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Training is conducted by mental health professionals and experts to teach law enforcement officers and correctional facility staff effective techniques to respond and diffuse situations before they escalate.Jerry Demings, who served on MHACF’s executive board of directors for many years, understands the correlation between identifying and treating mental health issues and a decrease in crime.“Overall, our communities are much better off if organizations such as MHACF can continue to provide mental health services, referrals and counseling before problems arise,” he said. “Crime has decreased in Orange County, and I like to think the reason is not only good law enforcement, but the long-term investment we as a community make in social services. It doesn’t make sense to me that funding of these services are continuing to be cut. Even though we are experiencing tough financial times, I urge people not to forget to support organizations like MHACF, because in the long run everyone benefits.”Jerry Demings is open about sharing the challenges he faces with a family member who struggles with mental health issues.“My nephew is a veteran, and when he returned home, he had some emotional and mental health difficulties that caused him to act out,” he said. “Seeing this in my own family, I can relate better to others in similar situations.”Some may view the task of dealing with the complex issue of mental health as an overwhelming challenge; however, even the smallest effort makes a difference.Batchelor referred to the following analogy: A man was walking along the beach and saw many stranded starfish lying on the sand. He began gently tossing them back into the water one by one. Another man approached him and said, “You know it doesn’t matter, because you can’t get them all back in.” The first man responded, “But it matters to the one.”Mental Health Facts …According to the Mental Health Association of Central Florida:• The third leading cause of death of youths ages 14 to 22 is suicide, preceded only by accidents and murder.• 17 million adults in the U.S. are affected by a depressive disorder each year.• 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorder.• Nationally, there are about 33,000 suicides each year.• Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults ages 18 to 65.• 60 percent of people who commit suicide suffered from major depression.• There are twice as many suicides as homicides each year.• Depression doubles the chances of workers going on short-term disability.For more information about the Mental Health Association of Central Florida or to purchase tickets for the Legacy of Champions Luncheon, call 407-898-0110 or visit www.mhacf.org on the Web.
Kearney Publishing Corp.7901 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 28Orlando, FL 32819407.351.1573 | Fax number: 407.363.3954
Kearney Publishing Corp.