Mental health as vital as physical kind

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Half of Kentucky’s adults know someone who is battling depression, but 3 out of 10 do not know who to call for treatment.

Additionally, youth and senior citizens are even less likely to know where to seek help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 Kentuckians has been medically diagnosed with some form of depression. Despite that, fewer than half — 47 percent — of Kentucky adults who are battling mental illnesses receive treatment or counseling.

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These were just some of the findings highlighted in the recent Kentucky Health Issues Report, sponsored by Interact for Health and the

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

This is important data by an organization that has been doing good work for the better part of two decades.

“Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $26 million in health policy research and advocacy, as well as demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth,” according to the organization’s biographical information. “Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity.”

This data offers a clear destination from the aspect of challenges we face. Now we must work as a community to develop a road map toward improvement.

It starts with education and public outreach right here at home. We must find community partners who can help facilitate this. Many of them are already here, such as the health department and Clark Regional Medical Center.

We cannot wait on changes to come from the state or federal government. We must focus on addressing this public health crisis from the bottom up, making a positive impact here in Clark County, then in Central Kentucky and continuing in a growing spiral.

It is vital that every Kentuckian knows they are not alone and help is out there.