Physician assistant Danni Anderson and Zacharina Winker, director of nursing at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) spoke to over 40 people at SMCH’s “Lunch Connection” event. Their program addressed “Recognizing the Subtle Signs of Mental Illness.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five individuals in Iowa live with some form of mental illness. Danni discussed the four main forms she sees in her patients who are suffering from mental illness in the emergency room and her practice at McCrary Rost Clinic Lake City. She said anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and postpartum depression are the most common. Treatments can include psychotherapy, medication, and alternatives like light therapy and vitamin D supplements for SAD, acupuncture, and support groups.
Zacharina discussed ways to support loved ones who are suffering from mental illness. She recommended sharing stressors to lighten the burden, being a good listener, and learning as much as possible about the condition. For those who are dealing with mental illness individually, she emphasized talking openly with a medical provider and seeking a support person in friends or family. She also discussed ways SMCH is working to meet the needs of patients with mental illness. It has partnered with mental and behavioral health clinics to offer needed services to patients, including telehealth services in the ER to link a patient in crisis with a psychotherapist who can recommend treatment.
The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held March 1, 2018.