Vol. LII No. 5
May 2017

Mental Health Day

CONTRIBUTED BY Taylor Owen, Media Relations.

The Chickasaw Nation is committed to providing mental health support and education for Chickasaw families and the community.

Mental health is an important but sometimes neglected part of overall well-being.

“One in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem at some time in our life,” Chickasaw Nation Prevention Services Director Barbara Underwood said.

Feeling stressed, anxious or experiencing mild depression are common mental health illnesses that could benefit from proper treatment.

Many people struggling with mental health and even those with thoughts of suicide go unrecognized, though many are, directly or indirectly, requesting help. The Chickasaw Nation Prevention Services offers classes to help bring awareness of early warning signs of mental health problems and suicide intervention.

SafeTALK classes teach participants to provide practical help to persons with thoughts of suicide. SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) supplies those in helping roles with professional development to ensure they are prepared to provide suicide first aid help. ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention skills workshop.

To organize a safeTALK or ASIST workshop for your group or organization, contact Deanna Carpitche (580) 421-8734 or deanna.carpitche@chickasaw.net.

Stigma can accompany mental health issues. Sometimes, people do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings, so they may live with the problem or try to cope on their own.

“We all have times when we feel down or stressed or anxious,” Mrs. Underwood said. “Most of the time, those feelings pass. But sometimes, they develop into more serious problems, and that could happen to any of us.”

Licensed mental health professionals and medical doctors can diagnose a mental health problem. The Chickasaw Nation supports the protocol that a complete physical should accompany a mental health assessment, as physical problems are many times related to or can cause mental health problems.

Early warning signs of mental health problems may include:

  • Isolation from people and normal activities
  • Low energy
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, worried or on edge
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks, such as duties at home or work

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health problem. PTSD can occur after you have been through various kinds of trauma.

PTSD affects close to 5.2 million American adults. Women are more likely than men to experience the disorder. Native Americans are affected at about twice the rate of the general population.

Take Action

Good mental health is as important as having good physical health. Each can affect the other. It is important to take care of yourself and get the most from life. Making simple changes to how you live can be accomplished without substantial investment of money or time. Anyone can follow this advice to maintain good mental health:

  • Practice positive thoughts
  • Get physically active and exercise regularly
  • Eat well
  • Help others
  • Talk about your feelings

For more information, call prevention services at (580) 436-7212.