How and When to Seek Help for Mental Illness

Posted Aug 7, 2013 | Posted in Diseases & Treatments

Dr. Verghese, Kumari

Dr. Kumari Verghese says that telling someone to “snap out of depression” is about as practical as telling someone to “get over” heart disease. That’s not how it works.  Mental illness comes from neuro-chemical imbalances, and needs to be medically treated like any physical illness.

During a Health Chat last month at the Johnston Medical Mall, Dr. Verghese covered a smattering of behavioral health topics, from the recent changes brought about by state mental health reform to tips on how to keep the brain healthy. Her main focus was detailing the mental health services that are available to patients, specifically in Johnston County, and how and when to seek help through these services.

Primary Care Physician

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health problem, there are several steps you can take depending on the severity of the situation. If the symptoms are mild and do not pose an immediate threat to anyone’s safety, it is best to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.  If your physician determines that your symptoms are not being caused by any underlying physical problems, they will most likely refer you to a specialist for further evaluations.

Click here if you need to find a primary care physician.

Help with Mental IllnessMental Health Center

The Johnston County Mental Health Center can provide screenings and treatment for patients who may be experiencing slightly more severe mental illness.  Psychologists, medical doctors, social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals are available by appointment for many types of counseling and treatment.  If a crisis arises and you don’t have an appointment, you can still walk in and receive the treatment you need.  If you are having an emergency after hours, the Access Team is available 24/7 to help.

Johnston County Mental Health Center
521 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am till 5:00 pm
Direct: 919-989-5500
Toll Free: 1-888-815-8934
Spanish Language: 919-989-5517
After Hours/Crisis: 1-800-510-9132
TTY (deaf and hard of hearing): 919-989-5540

Emergency Department

If a mental illness is causing you or a loved one to pose an immediate threat to yourself or others, it is best to call 911 or go to the closest emergency department.  When someone with a mental illness because violent, angry, or severely depressed, the situation can quickly escalate and they can become very dangerous to themselves or others.  It’s in the best interest of the patient and everyone around them to seek help immediately.  Doctors and staff in the emergency department can help stabilize a patient to keep them safe until they are properly evaluated and referred to treatment.

Emergency departments in Johnston County:

Johnston Medical Center – Smithfield ED
509 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577

Johnston Medical Center – Clayton ED
2138 NC Hwy 42 W
Clayton, NC 27520

Inpatient Treatment

If your doctors feel that you need further treatment after visiting these outpatient facilities, they may refer you to inpatient treatment.  Inpatient treatment can help patients with severe and persistent mental health issues.  Treatment can vary in length and is always done by an individualized treatment plan to fit each patient’s specific needs.

Johnston County inpatient treatment facilities:

Johnston Health Behavioral Health Services
Johnston Medical Center – Smithfield
509 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577

Other inpatient facilities in eastern North Carolina:

Cherry Hospital, Goldsboro
Walter B. Jones ADATC, Greenville
Caswell Developmental Center, Kinston

All of these facilities can provide great resources to anyone dealing with mental illness.  Because there is still a stigma attached to mental illness, many patients do not seek help when they should. We need to discourage this negative view of mental illness and make sure no one feels ashamed to get help.

Summer Health Chat featuring Dr. Kumari Verghese

[youtuber youtube=’’]

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