Brookhaven Retreat Celebrates World Mental Health Day

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On October 10, Brookhaven Retreat, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, recognizes the dangers of mental illness among older populations.

Initiated by the World Federation of Mental Health, World Mental Health Day promotes mental wellness and increases worldwide awareness about mental illness. The WFMH chose mental health in older adults as the annual theme. Brookhaven Retreat recognizes the critical importance of addressing the unique mental health issues of older women.

Mental illness among older populations is a serious issue. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness, and that women are 70 percent more likely to experience depression than men. Despite this, less than one quarter of older adults receive any care for their mental health conditions, The Older Women’s League reports.

Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are often written off as an effect of the normal aging process. Mental illness is never a normal part of aging. Depression places women at risk for suicide, physical health issues and substance abuse as they isolate and fail to care for themselves.

Depression frequently co-occurs with serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer that can affect older people, the NIMH reports. Older women with physical health issues should be monitored for signs of mental illness. Because they frequently outlive men, older women also often face issues of grief and bereavement.

The unique emotional challenges faced by older women can lead to mental health issues that require residential treatment. It is important for friends and family members of older women to recognize the difference between healthy grief, stress and medication management and issues of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. When women isolate or become unable to care for themselves, a serious mental health issue may be present.

The WHO defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which people are able to cope with day-to-day stress, contribute to their communities and realize their own potential. Brookhaven Retreat encourages older women suffering from mental health issues to seek help. Without treatment, depression can worsen and physical health can decline. Brookhaven Retreat believes that by addressing mental health issues in therapy, creating healthy life habits and healing self-esteem, older women create a stable foundation for mental wellness and self-actualization.

About Brookhaven Retreat
Brookhaven Retreat is a women's treatment center nestled on a naturally beautiful 48-acre site secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It has helped hundreds of women across the United States overcome depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use and a range of other behavioral health challenges. Brookhaven’s Founder, Jacqueline Dawes, has predicated its gender-specific treatment on “healing emotional breakage” for women. In this way, she has established a sanctuary and a place where women can feel safe, secure and cared for by a staff of highly trained professionals.

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Jessica Wirth
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