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An Overview of Mental Health in Taunton, Massachusetts
Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts is one of the original Plymouth Colony settlements. Elizabeth Poole, a Puritan woman from England, established the town in 1637. Her name is famous in history as the first woman to found an American town. Today, Taunton is a technically a suburb of Boston, yet it retains a unique, wild beauty seldom found near large metropolitan areas.
The 40-mile Taunton River gracefully curves through the city. The undeveloped river is photogenic. Does and fawns wander among shady maple trees that burst into spectacular firestorms of color in autumn. The river is home to otters, seals, and mink. The unspoiled natural habitat draws bald eagles, loons, and herons, including over 150 species of marsh nesting and grassland birds. Fishing, kayaking, hiking and camping are some of the activities enjoyed by Taunton residents and tourists.
Meeting Needs of Aging Taunton Residents
Taunton is proactive in helping its aging citizens. The Department of Human Services and Council on Aging recognizes the emotional, mental and physical changes in later life that can bring peaceful retirement or aching loneliness for those who live alone. The Elder Outreach Program and Community Counseling of Bristol County are services to alleviate the burdens on elders, helping them cope with stressful demands on their diminishing physical and mental health.
Massachusetts Mental Health at a Glance
Massachusetts has been making improvements to behavioral health care systems. The state has been a leader for change; however, like many states across the nation, Massachusetts and its cities are intent on improving access to providers and resources.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services of the United States report behavioral health issues at risk for American states. Topics of interest include the rate of access for youth and adults to age-appropriate substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.
First indications of a serious mental health issue can include perceptual problems (senses such as touch, taste, sight or hearing do not correspond to actual environment input). For example, a person may see a mythical creature and hear it speaking; these issues are prevalent in psychosis. Other preludes to psychosis are a person’s belief in non-real ideas or objects, even in the face of proof that the belief is false.
Treatments exist for serious mental health illnesses. They are time sensitive. Treatment is most effective when a medical professional such as a family doctor notices signs of mental illness onset. If severe mental health deficits have existed for long periods, treatment gains can take longer; nevertheless, improvement is still possible. It is never too late to hope; the key is seeking mental health treatment.
Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Access
Mental health programs and services are important; however, they cannot perform their intended functions when those needing treatment cannot get help. Individuals might not receive behavioral health care services for the following reasons:
- lack of insurance coverage,
- poor availability of service
- unreasonable wait times for appointments,
- lack of adequate transportation to and from care providers
- inadequate capacity of area providers to accept new patients
- lack of insurance to afford the cost of services
- difficulties in measurement and reporting to identify service gaps
- lack of treatment offered in a client’s native language
- prevalence of substance abuse and resistance to therapy
- the low number of mental health community facilities
- lack of psychiatric providers to prescribe needed medication
- appropriate services unavailable for children and teens
- long-term psychiatric hospital care for those with severe mental issues
- difficulty in locating desired services such as family counseling
- unrealistic hours of operation for out-patient treatment
- inability to identify early-onset mental illness
Access to Behavioral Health Care is Complex
Almost half of adults with a mental health condition were not able to get care. The number of youth with major depression and no treatment approached 60 percent.
Comorbid behavioral health conditions—meaning a patient who suffers from two or more simultaneous mental health conditions, such as both depression and anxiety–exist in a large percentage of Massachusetts care hospitals. A third complication is that people suffering from comorbid conditions may also have substance abuse addictions.
Mental Health Treatment Is Available for Taunton Residents
Successful treatment of mental illness is possible. E-Counseling’s directory can help Taunton citizens can find mental health professionals near them to meet specific needs. Do not hesitate to give a loved one or yourself the gift of treatment and the possibility of a happier life.