A Public Health Week Q and A on behavioral health

Jon Kelvey
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

It’s National Public Health Week, an annual campaign of the American Public Health Association designed to help communicate what organizations such as the Carroll County Health Department do for their communities.

“National Public Health Week is a time to recognize the often invisible work done by our local, state, and national public health departments to keep the public healthy and safe,” said Dr. Henry Taylor, deputy health officer at the Carroll County Health Department.

Each year, the association proposes an overall theme for public health week, with “Healthiest Nation 2030 ” being the theme for 2018. Additionally, each day of the week has it’s own sub-theme: Behavioral health for Monday, communicable diseases on Tuesday, environmental health on Wednesday, injuries and preventing violence on Thursday and the right to a healthy life on Friday.

Over the course of the week, the Times will feature a short Q and A with a member of the Health Department on each of these topics, beginning with Sue Doyle, director of the Bureau of Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, on the topic of behavioral health.

Q: What is behavioral health?

A: Behavioral health includes both mental health and substance use disorder services. We help people with prevention, treatment, and recovery. In fact, the name of our bureau at the Health Department is the Bureau of Prevention, Wellness, and Recovery — we like to focus on the positive.

Q: What types of behavioral health services does the Health Department provide?

A: We are the Local Behavioral Health Authority (LBHA), so we are responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the Maryland Public Behavioral Health System in Carroll County. We help link people to mental health and substance use services. We have programs to help people at greatest risk, such as homeless individuals with mental illness.

We also help to coordinate community efforts focused on opioids. We provide prevention education for schools, local organizations, and the community. We hold many community-wide events to raise awareness of the opioid issue and how people can help, or get help. We work with other organizations to combat stigma toward people with mental health and substance use disorders.

Q: Where do you provide services?

A: We connect people to services across the county. We have staff at our main location on Center Street, Access Carroll, Carroll Hospital, the detention center, and other locations. Many staff members travel across the county to give presentations and connect with people in need.

Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about Behavioral Health?

A: One in five people experience a mental health issue each year and approximately 1.25 million persons are enrolled in substance use disorder services on any single day. Prevention plays a critical role in addressing mental and/or substance use disorders.

These disorders can have an enormous impact on a person’s state of mental or emotional being and the choices and actions he or she makes that affect his or her wellness. Mental and physical health is also connected. Good mental health often contributes to good physical health. Likewise, the presence of mental and/or substance use disorders is frequently associated with physical health disorders. Effective prevention efforts and appropriate early interventions can make a huge difference in a person’s future.

Q: How can people learn more about your services?

A: People can visit our web pages by visiting cchd.maryland.gov/behavioral-health. They can also call 410-876-4449 for more information.

Q: Do you have any upcoming events?

A: We are hosting a substance abuse awareness event, “Operation Prevention,” with the Westminster Elks on the evening of Tuesday, April 10, with free food and activities for the whole family, and speakers from the DEA as well as local officials and law enforcement. We are also involved in the upcoming Drug and Violence Awareness Expo on April 12.

The Health Department is also hosting an open house 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday at its 290 S. Center St., Westminster location.

jon.kelvey@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-3317

twitter.com/CCT_Health

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