What is B4Stage4?
B4Stage4 is Mental Health America’s initiative to encourage people to address mental health issues before Stage 4. The focus is on the importance of addressing mental health symptoms early, identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4. We begin with prevention. When in the first stage of those diseases, you may have a persistent cough, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, but you immediately try to reverse those symptoms. So why don’t we do the same when dealing with potentially serious mental illness? It’s time to change the conversation!
About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence. Research shows that by ignoring mental health symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. Even when we don’t intervene right away, and serious mental illnesses get worse and disrupt people’s lives, we can act effectively. We can offer people choices and supports to help them recover. These include clinical services, drugs, peer supports, counseling, family supports, and other therapies that also help them manage their thoughts and emotions. These all help keep people connected to their families and their community. Intervening as early as possible preserves education, employment, social supports, housing – and brain power! It also costs less than the all-too-common revolving door of incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness. Focusing B4Stage4 is the answer. We’ll be introducing more about B4Stage4 in the months and years to come. But in the meantime here are some things you can do now…
Make mental health a priority in your life, B4Stage4. Untreated behavioral health needs derail the lives of those affected and their families, and ultimately negatively impact our entire community.
Take a quick, confidential mental health screening to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, and encourage others to do the same.
Visit the Mental Health Association in Indian River County’s Walk-In Center at 820 37th Place in Vero Beach, or call 772-569-9788 for an appointment (appointments are not needed but accepted). We offer individuals experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, free mental health screening, crisis intervention services, and information and/or referral about how to address their mental health issues. The center is open Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Psychotherapy, group therapy, case management, and psychiatry services are also available for clients seeking ongoing mental health services on an appointment basis at the center. For more information on the Mental Health Association’s Walk-In Center, call 772-569-9788.
To stay well, use Mental Health America’s health and wellness tools, like the May is Mental Health Month calendar on a year-round basis.
Ask organizations, political leaders, and advocates to endorse our #B4Stage4 campaign.
Help us to engage the online community in B4Stage4 thinking. Support MHA’s #B4Stage4 campaign on Twitter and Facebook.