Prevention and Intervention in Depression. The Indiana State Bar.

An article by John walker in the Argus Leader discusses how the state bar of Indiana provides depression treatment for its lawyers.

The program targets early screening in for people experiencing depression and encourages them to learn to identify it in others. It also pays for the cost of several treatment sessions and diagnosis if the lawyers cannot afford it.

The focus of the program is to destigmatize mental illness, educate people about its symptoms identify it early, and provide treatment.

I was really astounded when I thought of how simple and effective and approach this is to identifying and more successfully treating mental health issues.

What if we instituted effective programs like this in our schools, for teachers and students? For nurses, real estate agents, architects, athletes, social workers, grocery store and retail employees and accountants?

Honestly I can’t imagine it would be very difficult. Why are we not doing this? It doesn’t have to be funded by the government. How about Bank of America, Lowes, and Harris Teeter chip in and fund a little early intervention and prevention program for their employees?

We know early intervention and prevention works and we know who is at risk. When I first started as a therapist, there was a program the agency I worked for ran called “What to Do?” It was a prevention program that taught children in kindergarten about sexual abuse. The program reached hundreds of kids each year and was simply delivered and administered by a paraprofessional in the mental health field. Inevitably, the program would lead to children coming forward and asking for help, and they would receive it. If a child can recognize what is not safe they may be able to learn how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. If a sexually abused child receives help at 5, instead of 25, generations of sexual abuse can be prevented. Funding for the program was cut. In Mecklenburg County we would rather treat these children in emergency rooms when they show up suicidal, or their sexually abused children decades later, or house them in a jail when they themselves hurt a child.

In our society, unfortunately, we have trouble predicting the consequences of our actions. We would rather deal with problems after the fact rather than avoid them to begin with. If this wasn’t true our environmental, economic and healthcare and mental health policy wouldn’t reflect it so blindingly.

Recently I was told a story of a teen’s suicide that was prevented by a counseling student. Without her intervention this child without question would be dead. She was depressed and did not get the right help. But the student knew the signs, and was able to intervene early. Anyone can do this.

Do you know the signs of suicide? Do you know how to recognize depression in your coworkers, friends and family members? Does your company run a program like the Indiana Bar? If not educate yourself. Think about what you can do. It might save a life.

Walker, J. (2010, N0vember 21). Retrieved November 21, 2010, from Argus Leader :

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