May is Mental Health Awareness Month and unfortunately for Mississippi, the Magnolia State ranks one of the worst in the nation in terms of mental health care.
According to a study from Forbes, Mississippi ranked the second worst in the U.S. for the number of mental health treatment centers (36.33 per 10,000 businesses) and the percentage of youth who had a major depressive episode in the past year and did not receive treatment (71.7 percent).
Though physical treatment centers aren’t as prevalent in the state, Dr. Christina Williams, Clinical Director at Pine Grove Outpatient Services in Hattiesburg, says an uptick in telehealth services has benefitted those not located near a facility.
“The laws changed quite a bit in terms of what providers were able to do in telemedicine and we were able to see more and more people through Telehealth, and they’re able to do it from the comfort of their own homes,” Williams stated on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “A lot more people who never had access before were able to get that access.”
In addition, telemedicine has granted those fearful of being “mocked” or “ridiculed” for seeking help to speak with a medical professional in a safe and confidential space.
“If your every day doesn’t feel like it’s in line with what you would like it to be, what you’d like that to look like, what your values are, what you’re relationships are like — if you’re just going through the motions — why is that not bad enough to want it to change? That’s a concept that a lot of people really don’t understand,” Williams added. “You can get help early on.”
Moving forward, Williams would like to see an elimination of the stigma behind getting treatment for a mental health issue that exists in some segments of society so that more people will feel inclined to seek help as early as possible.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Williams below.