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Mental health at the fore of Living in the New Norm September luncheon

Times-Tribune - 10/1/2023

Sep. 30—CORBIN — Once a month, Baptist Health partners with local businesses to host a lunch at the Corbin Public Library. However the lunch goers not only receive a free meal but information to help educate the community on important health-related topics.

This month's segment of the Living in the New Norm series, held last Wednesday, was themed around suicide awareness which brought two individuals to present knowledge they have gained in their expertises in mental health and financial planning.

{span}Travis Powers, Baptist's Behavioral Health Community Liaison,{/span} is a mental health professional that has been working in the field for over 30 years. He explained how substance abuse and mental health go hand in hand. Powers' goal is to link the community to Behavioral Health resources.

He described instances of people who try to self medicate for mental health issues like anxiety and depression and find themselves hooked on drugs.

Baptist Health Corbin offers services on every level of intervention except residential.

The outpatient program works with individuals 45 minutes at a time. Usually depending on the case, patients will be seen once or twice a month for ages 6 and up.

The services are located in the Trillium Center at the Briscoe Clinic and Baptist primary care in Williamsburg, Corbin and Barbourville.

Baptist Health also offers a telehealth option that allows individuals to receive care from the comfort of their own home after their first visit.

The intensive outpatient program (IOP) is the second level of care that is available to the community. It is 3-4 days a week during the day for ages 12-17 years of age.

Adults are able to be seen in either a chemical dependence IOP-tailored program or mental health tailored program.

"You have a therapist that oversees the program who meets individually with each of the patients in the IOP program, recreational therapist that does positive and social skills like arts and crafts," Powers said. "Which people usually enjoy."

The next level is partial hospitalization intervention in which patients receive care five days a week during the day for ages 12-17 and a separate program for adults.

"We have a program that provides education for those kids that need the day program," Powers said. "It gives them that interaction where before if they were on homebound, they would be isolated."

The smaller peer group provides an opportunity for the kids to work on social and coping skills.

Adults also have the mental health and chemical dependency track just like the IOP program that is extended to five days a week.

The in-patient program is the most extensive.

"They might be a danger to themselves or others, having suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actively psychotic that requires them to be admitted," Powers said.

The IPP program at Baptist Health has an adolescent 12-17 year old unit, adults 18 and above and the latest one for seniors 65 and above or others who may fit into the older group better.

"We wanted to create a program that is more age specific," Powers said.

Baptist Health prides themselves in helping patients once they are finished with programs to find longer term care to find success in their treatment.

The behavioral health resources line at Baptist Health is available for anyone to call to ask questions about seeking the right care for themselves or a loved one. That number is 855-802-1592.

Beth Davis, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, spoke on how those in retirement may be impacted by isolation and also need to be purposeful in seeking out social activities and health and wellbeing.

Health, family, purpose and finance was four areas in which Davis shared was the most important to focus on in retirement for mental wellbeing.

Davis said that it was never too late to improve health and when retirees focus on better health, their mental health usually gets better too.

For those in retirement, it's important to stay connected to family and loved ones whether it is a phone call or spending time with those you care about.

Financially, Davis explained the importance of using your retirement fund wisely and though you may feel compelled to spend or contribute outside the plan, being financially comfortable and stable through retirement resulted in a better quality of life and comfort in retirement.

Davis also shared the importance of having difficult conversations with loved ones about health care options if you fall ill.

"There will not be any questions and the plan will be laid out," she said. "These conversations makes it easier for everyone and relieves the 'what if' worry on you and your loved ones."

It is also important to seek out purpose in retirement.

"Pursue a hobby, travel, volunteer seek out something bigger than yourself to pursue in retirement that brings you joy," Davis said. "These people are usually the ones with the best mental health in retirement.


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