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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Patient Focused Care

An Open Letter to Our Current and Future Patients…

At Montefiore, we adhere to the credo of Dr. Brock Chisholm, psychiatrist and the first Director-General of the World Health Organization who famously said, "Without mental health, there can be no true physical health."

We know that good mental health is integral to overall health. Untreated psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety or addiction are associated with poorer outcomes of most other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. In addition, healthy habits such as exercise, nutritious diet, good sleep routines, and practices to manage stress help maintain good mental health.

The traditional distinction between "mental" and "physical" is increasingly seen as inaccurate and even counterproductive.

Conditions traditionally thought of as "mental" involve physical risk factors like genetic influences and inflammation, while conditions thought of as "physical" are profoundly influenced by stress and one's state of mind. Health is truly holistic, integrating all aspects of mind and body.

Good mental health is a lifelong goal. We encourage you to take advantage of the resources provided in this section of our site to pursue some mental health goals that you can work on throughout the year.

Below, I've outlined three things you can do immediately to start your journey. Know too, that we're here and ready to help you gain greater awareness of how to manage your mental and physical health. If you have questions, please reach out and contact us.

We are here to help.

Three Simple Steps to Improve Your Mental Health

1. Adopt a healthy habit. Think about how often you exercise, what you eat, your sleep patterns, and what you do to alleviate stress. Pick an area to build on. 

Mental Health America, the organization that launched the annual Mental Health Month, is a great source for healthy tips and other helpful resources.

2. Challenge the stigma. When it comes to mental disorders, no family goes untouched. One in five Americans are affected by a mental health condition in any given year. Everyone knows someone with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, substance use problems or schizophrenia.

Like any other medical conditions, these are common disorders that can affect anyone, and at varying levels of intensity. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, another major organization that participates in Mental Health America, has adopted the #CureStigma campaign.

Check them out to learn more about stigma and what you can do to help.

3. Reach out. Even in the United States, fewer than half of individuals with a mental health condition received any kind of mental health services.  If you, or someone you care about, is facing a mental health problem, get help. If you notice changes in a loved one (unusual fatigue, irritability, tearfulness or weight loss) consider sharing your concerns and offering the support needed to ensure they get help.

Psychiatric conditions are very common, very serious and also very treatable. Fortunately, there are an expanding range of evidence based, effective treatments for mental health conditions.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jonathan Alpert

Jonathan E. Alpert, MD, PhD
Dorothy and Marty Silverman Chair,
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral
Sciences, Montefiore
Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and
Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine