“Let’s Talk Mental Health.”

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The “Holiday Blues” are a real thing that tend to be more prevalent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. During this time, people report feeling lonely, stressed, depressed and anxious; and mental health emergencies tend to rise during this time.

The American Psychological Association found that 38% of people surveyed said their stress levels increased during the holiday season. Some attributed this stress to lack of time, money, and the pressures of gift-giving and family gatherings. A large number of people surveyed — 56% — said they experienced more stress at work.

South Texas Health System Behavioral, which has served the community for more than 30 years, is here to help. The facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can help assist you or a loved one who is experiencing mental health problems.

The hospital offers inpatient services to treat depression, anxiety, and many other mental and behavioral health disorders, including programs for kids and adolescents. There are also options for outpatient services. At STHS Behavioral, the team of experts recognize the need for mental healthcare in the community, not just during the holidays. The facility works hard to break the stigma surrounding mental health by educating and informing the community and opening discussions over mental health topics.

“One thing that’s important to remember is that our region is underserved when it comes to psychiatric and mental health services,” said Kevin Trussell, STHS Behavioral house supervisor. “Our role is very important because we are one of the few options for mental and behavioral health treatment for those individuals, and we have an excellent team that listens and responds.”

The team at STHS Behavioral will create individualized treatment plans and encourage anyone who believes they have a need to visit for an evaluation. Trussell added that people do not have to wait, and just like any other emergency, someone who is experiencing a crisis at 2 a.m. can go to STHS Behavioral to be assessed.

“We’re assessing to find if they are an immediate danger to themselves, to others, or disabled beyond taking care of themselves, and if so, they need inpatient treatment,” Trussell said. “We encourage anyone who feels like they might reach the point where they’re going through something drastic to come in for an assessment.”

Other resources STHS Behavioral provides include programs, such as “Let’s Talk Mental Health.” This is a series of free virtual seminars open to the entire community. The webinars are held every first Thursday of the month and feature subject-matter experts talking about important mental health topics like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the negative effects of social media. All sessions are held via Zoom.

“As a leader in the community when it comes to mental health, it’s our mission at STHS Behavioral to lead the charge in breaking the negative stigma surrounding mental health that has prevented people in crisis from getting the help they need,” said Tom Castañeda, STHS system director of marketing and public relations.“ By hosting these monthly mental health seminars, we are not only offering important education on mental health conditions that impact our communities, but we’re also opening the doors to communication and letting people know it’s OK to talk about our own mental health struggles and seek help when necessary.”

STHS Behavioral also holds community events in May for Mental Health Awareness Month and in September for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. These events help break the stigma surrounding mental health by allowing the community to discuss issues openly.

“Don’t hesitate to come in and talk to one of our professionals,” Trussell encouraged. “We are here to be a resource for the community by providing help and guidance.”

Selene Guerrero