The Truth About Mental Illness

"Mental illness." For many people, hearing those words as part of a diagnosis, causes embarrassment feelings of shame, and perceived weakness. It doesn't have to be that way. Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time.

"I feel there is a connection between your physical and mental health," said Dr. Linda Jasperse, a psychiatrist with SVMC Psychiatry. "People need to understand that getting treatment for anxiety, depression, or feelings of grief is really just like getting treatment for a physical illness. There doesn't have to be and shouldn't be a stigma or any sense of embarrassment about getting help for mental health conditions."

It's also important to realize that helpful treatments do exist. "You don't have to suffer alone with any type of mental illness," added Dr. Jasperse. "Your health care provider will treat your mental health symptoms just the same as your physical symptoms. They'll assess how you're feeling, diagnose what the problem is, and recommend treatment to help you feel better.

"Oftentimes, people feel like they'll just be given a prescription and sent on their way," she continued. "Medication may be a part of your treatment, but your health care provider may also recommend that you talk with someone who specializes in mental health. Exploring your emotions, including the difficult ones, can help you feel better and also allows you to learn more about yourself. It can also be a great way of discovering more about your personal goals and values.

"If something is bothering you mentally, it will probably affect you physically at some point and vice versa," stated Dr. Jasperse. "To me, it just makes sense to treat both types of symptoms."

Dr. Jasperse provides psychiatric assessments for patients referred by their primary care providers and consultations for hospitalized patients with psychiatric needs. A primary care provider can reach Dr. Jasperse at SVMC Psychiatry by calling (802) 442-8165.