Local News

October 4, 2013

Addressing mental illness locally



Depression and anxiety disorders are at the top of the heap when it comes to mental health issues in both Mahaska County and nationwide, noted LeBahn.

It's important to realize that there isn't one brand of anxiety or depression people experience. Both ailments come with their own unique range of severity, LeBahn pointed out.

In severe cases of depression, people can become unable to do things like form meaningful relationships with others, said LeBahn.

“It can be mild,” explained LeBahn while discussing levels of depression. “It can be short-term or it can be pretty severe, debilitating and chronic for the rest of that person's life.”

The symptoms of anxiety manifest themselves in different ways, denoting a range of severity. An example of a more mild form of anxiety is something many people can identify with — fear of public speaking. More severe forms of anxiety can render people unable to leave their homes, noted LeBahn.

Luckily, there are resources to address mental illness here in Oskaloosa.

MHP's Behavioral Health Services unit has qualified people who help others cope with mental illness. LeBahn said they have three psychiatric nurse practitioners able to meet with patients and identify their symptoms. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are also able to talk about the potential for relief through medication, added LeBahn.

There are 10 counselors at MHP that can meet with people individually to provide therapy that addresses and helps alleviate the symptoms they experience. Connecting people with inpatient facilities within Iowa can also be done, according to LeBahn.

In dealing with mental health issues, living a life of recovery is the goal, noted LeBahn. The use of medication to alleviate mental illness also depends upon the person.

“Some people can take medication for a short period of time with the assistance of the counseling and maybe don't need that medication any longer,” LeBahn said. “Some people may need medication of some sort for the rest of their life.”

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