Kidney Care Provider DaVita Is Taking Part in Mental Health Awareness Effort

Kidney Care Provider DaVita Is Taking Part in Mental Health Awareness Effort

The kidney care provider DaVita is joining this year’s May is Mental Health Month campaign to highlight the need for doctors to address patients’ mental health when they treat challenging physical conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Mental Health America sponsors mental health month. It focuses on those chronic mental illnesses and those whose physical-health challenges lead to mental health challenges. DaVita is a kidney care provider with a staff that includes social workers who can help address the mental-health side of kidney challenges.

An estimated 43.4 million American adults had a mental illness of some kind in 2015, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That was 17.9 percent of all adults.

When patients receive a CKD diagnosis, strong emotions can surface as they process the new reality. Depression is a common reaction.

If left untreated, depression can complicate chronic health conditions, reduce patients’ quality of life and increase their risk of dying. Friends, caregivers, doctors and others should encourage them to pursue meaningful activities and socialize to help them cope with their adjustment to dialysis.

A key focus of this year’s May is Mental Health Month is Risky Business. This is an effort to help people understand what habits and behaviors increase their risk of developing or worsening a mental illness.

The risk factors include marijuana use, risky sex, prescription drug misuse, Internet addition, excessive spending and troublesome exercise patterns.

DaVita’s social workers know how important mental health is to patients’ kidney treatment. They screen patients for depression twice a year to help ensure they receive the best possible care.

“It is important to understand the significant role that mental health plays in an individual’s overall health and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more,” Duane Dunn, director of social work services at DaVita, said in a press release. “We need to bring awareness to the benefits of intervention and how integrated services work to help those who are struggling with mental illness.”

In April of this year, DaVita partnered with the World Health Organization on World Health Day to address depression in CKD patients.

The DaVita Medical Group’s Everett Clinic in the Seattle suburb of Everett offers several support groups and workshops to help patients with mental illness. They include a teen skills group for teenagers with a mental illness and a living with chronic conditions workshop.

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