Those who suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues can get on the path to recovery, health and happiness with the help of a simple, unassuming kiosk.
Many experience feelings of helplessness that don’t go away or a constant worry about events or situations affecting their lives, signs of depression or anxiety, but many of them don’t know where to turn for help.
Mental Health Recovery Services (MHRS) of Warren and Clinton Counties, the board of alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services serving the two-county region, has placed two kiosks in each county to help residents.
The kiosks in Clinton County are located at the Clinton County Health Department on South Nelson Avenue, and the Clinton County Department of Job and Family Services (JFS) on South South Street (U.S. 68 South), both in Wilmington.
The kiosks, a project from Screenings for Mental Health in Boston, Massachusetts, aim to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and screen for treatable mental health conditions.
According to Tommy Koopman, director of health and wellness programs for MHRS, the kiosks meet residents where they are in their lives.
“People may see the kiosks while they wait to meet with someone at the health department” or JFS, Koopman said. “If they wonder whether that down feeling they’ve had for several weeks is depression, they can take the screening to find out. And if it turns out that it might be depression, they’ll get local resources where they can find help.”
Each kiosk offers seven anonymous screenings for adult depression, adolescent depression, anxiety, bipolar, alcohol use, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorder. Each consists of about 13 questions that take just a few minutes to complete.
The screenings also ask each person if they have thoughts of suicide or harming themselves. When they finish, individuals taking the screenings get a personal assessment, information about whether their results are consistent with a mental health disorder and information about local resources where they can find help.
“Those few minutes to do a screening can make all the difference in treatment and getting on a path to the life they want to live,” said Koopman. “The average time from first symptoms to help is 10 years. And in that time, a person living with depression may be self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol, which adds another layer to treatment. The sooner they find help, the better.”
Brent Lawyer, the executive director at MHRS, believes the kiosks offer a great service to people across Warren and Clinton Counties.
“These kiosks are an extension of the MHRS mission to share hope and caring to achieve recovery from mental illness, alcoholism, and drug addiction,” said Lawyer. “Everyone who lives with or is touched by mental illness or addiction should be able to enjoy life as they want. The screenings offer another way toward achieving that outcome.”
The kiosks will stay in their current locations for some time, said Koopman, who added, “We are looking for more places to move them around so more residents can have access if they want.”
Lawyer says the kiosks aren’t the only places people can take the screenings.
“People can also go to our website, mhrsonline.org, and go through one or more of the screenings,” Lawyer said. “They will also find the agencies where they can get help, along with the Crisis Hotline that can help right away if needed.”
That crisis hotline phone number is 1-877-695-NEED (6333). For more information about the kiosks, please visit www.mentalhealthscreening.org.