By Kelly C. Adams, LMSW
Clinical Case Manager, St. Hope Foundation
Did you know that one out of every four adults in the United States will be affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives?
If not, you’re not alone. Most people – including healthcare professionals – are unaware that more than 25% of Americans experience some kind of diagnosable, treatable mental illness or substance use disorder in their lifetime. And because ignorance leads to social stigma, many people choose to remain silent about their struggles for fear of retribution or rejection.
Despite the fact that mental illnesses like Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are extremely common, society still attaches negative stereotypes to mental health treatment. Like the stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS, the idea that only “certain types” of people are impacted by mental illness is very prevalent and counterproductive to the goal of empowering all Americans to care for their emotional well-being.
PLWHA (People Living With HIV/AIDS) suffer from mental illness at higher rates than the population as a whole. They are also more likely to have an alcohol or drug addiction history. Recognizing that unaddressed behavioral health issues negatively impact HIV medication adherence, St. Hope Foundation utilizes a holistic patient care model that emphasizes treating the whole person, not just the virus.
In addition to the fabulous Medical Case Management team, St. Hope Foundation has designated three licensed master’s level social workers (myself, Tara Bates, and Marianne Dublado) to fill the role of “Clinical Case Manager” – a position dedicated to providing excellent mental health and substance abuse counseling services to those clients who are significantly impacted by psychosocial stress. Clinical Case Management services are FREE to PLWHA who are eligible for medical care and case management under the Ryan White Care Act, and are now offered at the Bellaire, Conroe and Stafford clinics.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Tara Bates, Director of Clinical Services in Bellaire or your local SHF clinic.
SHF Bellaire: 713-839-7111
SHF Conroe: 936-441-2440
SHF Stafford: 281-277-8572