OKCIC brings awareness to mental health in May

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/15/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – For May, the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, a nonprofit that provides services to Native Americans in central Oklahoma, is bringing awareness to mental health issues.

“It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potential signs of something more,” Summer Welcher-Duke, OKCIC Behavioral Health director, said. “We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness, and do so in a compassionate, judgment-free way.”

According to an OKCIC press release, approximately 43.8 million adults in the United States, or 18.5 percent, experience mental illness in a given year.

The release states that specific populations of people, such as Native Americans, experience mental health concerns at a higher rate than the general population.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Native Americans experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population, experience post traumatic stress disorder more than twice as often as the general population and use and abuse alcohol and other drugs at younger ages and at higher rates than all other ethnic groups.

OKCIC offers counseling for a range of mental health and substance abuse issues through its Behavioral Health Department, which is a multi-faceted department of licensed mental health professionals that address the physical as well as mental, emotional and spiritual needs of the Native community.

“Prevention, early identification, early intervention and integrated services work,” OKCIC CEO Robyn Sunday-Allen said. “When we engage in prevention and early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early.”

For more information, visit www.okcic.com.

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