We need to dramatically expand access to counseling

With each passing day…sometimes even within a passing day we are reminded of how mentally sick we have become. Yet, still, the idea of access to sustained mental health counseling and care is not a priority. We spend enormous sums on crisis care. If we just had the will, we could pour enormous resources into the kinds of services that would greatly reduce the need for crisis services. Whatever we spend, whatever it costs, the investments will be more than repaid in the gifts of a more mentally stable nation.

“Community Health Needs Assessments” (CHNA) from Maine to Hawaii identify our “social determinants” of health status. These assessments in reality report out the same sets of concerns. Our nation is too emotionally fragile. This fragility manifests itself in poor nutrition, sad living conditions, loneliness and isolation. The more we seem to be coming together with the advance of communications technology, the more we seem to be using these technology wonders to isolate ourselves. We don’t ride a bike down the street or across town. Instead we join a peloton from a stationary cycle in our home. It’s just so much easier this way.

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Author: Philip EnnenPhil Ennen is an experienced senior executive who believes in servant leadership. Phil became CEO of an independent community hospital just before the national recession. He led the organization through difficult restructuring while at the same time completing a $62M new construction/renovation on time and on budget. The hospital came through the recession much changed but since 2011 has strengthened both its financial position and clinical performance. Phil accomplished this by empowering leaders to build an environment of honesty and trust. He has nurtured lasting relationships with physicians, frontline staff, community leaders, and patients by first listening and then by sharing his thoughts with transparent honesty. Phil also became a statewide leader for Ohio hospitals, serving as board chair of the Ohio Hospital Association and receiving the James Castle distinguished service award in June 2018.