HPC Welcomes Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, as new Chief Health Officer

Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP

Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP
Chief Health Officer

Post written by Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, has been named HPC’s new Chief Health Officer (CHO). He assumed his new position on Monday, Oct. 1. Most recently he served as the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health Services in Kansas City, Mo.

As CHO, Dr. Mourad is responsible for managing and providing leadership to HPC’s physicians and clinic providers, peer review/quality measurements, budget development and clinical strategy.

He is also part of the Senior Leadership Team for strategic decision-making and represents HPC in the community, both locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Mourad will continue his practice as a Family Medicine physician.

According to Amy Falk, CEO, Dr. Mourad has an impressive background in health care, including most recently in an FQHC setting, and as a proven leader in the delivery of high-quality care.

“I believe that the knowledge and experience he brings to HPC will not only lead to care delivery enhancements but also to further innovation as we look for ways to expand and integrate health care in the communities we serve.”

He was a co-founder and President/Medical Director of The Medina Clinic, a not for profit charitable primary care clinic in Kansas City and is a residency faculty member at Truman Medical Center—Lakewood.

InviteDr. Mourad has served as an associate professor with the UMKC School of Medicine and brings extensive experience as a family physician practicing the full spectrum of medical care including inpatient, outpatient, adult medicine, pediatric, maternity, women’s health and procedural care.

Dr. Mourad earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. and a Doctor of Medicine from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles.

He completed his Family Medicine Residency program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Eau Claire, Wis.

In addition, he completed a Maternal Child Health Fellowship at West Suburban Medical Center/PCC Community Wellness Center in Chicago, Ill.

In 2017, he earned a Master of Science in Health Care Management at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. He and his family reside in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

A Meet and Greet to welcome Dr. Mourad is being held on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Health Partnership Clinic, Conference Room, 407 S. Clairborne Road in Olathe, Kan.

Light hors-d’oeuvres will be served. The event is open to patients, staff, HPC board members and the community. To reserve your spot, email hpcrsvp@hpcjc.org, or call 913-730-3661.

Recommended Screenings and Vaccinations: Key to Healthy Living


Gwenyth Wagner

Post written by Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN, Nurse Practitioner, Health Partnership Clinic

As an adult, it is especially important to make sure you are healthy and well. Preventative care is key.

Here is a list of common preventative screenings and vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

I recommend these screenings to my own patients. As always, be sure to talk to your provider about what is best for you and your health.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • This is a one-time screening recommended for men between the age of 65-75 who either have smoked or have a history in the family of the disease.

Blood Pressure

  • The USPSTF recommends that adults age 40 and older, as well as younger high-risk individuals, have a blood pressure check annually. For those 18-39 without risk factors, blood pressure should be evaluated every three to five years.

Blood Pressure On Monitor Showing Very High Levels Or UnhealthyBreast Cancer Screening

  • Women 50-74 years of age should undergo screening mammograms every two years.

Cholesterol and Lipid Screening

  • A Lipid profile (total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL) should be performed every five years for all men and women 40-75 years of age.

Cervical Cancer Screening

  • All women ages 21 through 29 years should have a Pap Smear every three years. Women ages 30 through 64 years should have a Pap Smear with HPV screening every five years.

Colon Cancer Screening

  • Screening programs should start at age 50 and continue through age 75. This would include a colonoscopy which is recommended every 10 years or a yearly stool test for those who do not have access to colonoscopy services.

Diabetes Screening

  • Adults aged 40 and older are recommended to be screened for abnormal blood glucose. Adults of any age with a family history of diabetes or risk factors such as obesity might benefit from routine screening.

Hepatitis C Virus Screening

  • Testing is recommended for high-risk individuals especially those who have a history of IV drug use. Screening is also recommended for those individuals born between 1945 and 1965. Three out of four people with Hepatitis C were born between these years. Hepatitis is a liver disease that can result from infection with the hepatitis C virus. Talk to your provider if you fall into this age group.

HIV Screening

  • The USPSTF recommends screening for all adults age 18 through 64 but especially for those with risk factors. People who have HIV may initially have no symptoms of their infection but will eventually become very ill if it is not treated. Treatment of HIV is highly effective and can help prevent the spread of infection to others.

High blood cholesterolProstate Cancer Screening

  • Screening may be recommended for males aged 50 and older, especially if there is a family history. Screening can be done through a simple blood test as well as a digital rectal exam.

Osteoporosis Screening

  • Osteoporosis affects millions of older adults (more females than males) causing their bones to become fragile and more likely to breaks. Women age 65 and older or those younger who are at high risk should be screened for osteoporosis utilizing DEXA (bone mass density test).

Adult Immunizations

  • Flu vaccination is recommended annually for individuals.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for adults who have not already received the series and for certain individuals at high risk or with a chronic illness such as diabetes.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended for women up to age 26 or men up to age 21.
  • Shingles vaccination is recommended for healthy adults age 50 and older.
  • Td (tetanus/diphtheria) or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) should be done every 10 years (check to see with your provider what vaccination is best for you).
  • Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for all adults age 65 or greater and in younger individuals who are at increased risk due to smoking history or a chronic illness.

There are many ways you can keep your health in tip-top shape. Remember…

  • Talk to your health care provider about the screening tests and vaccinations you need.
  • Remember that family history and your environment play a large role in your health. Knowing your family history can help you and your provider know what screening tests are most needed.
  • You can help prevent disease and live a healthy life by exercising, eating healthy and getting regular health check-ups.

Ask a provider what preventative measures you should take and what are most important to you. Call to schedule an appointment with HPC at 913-648-2266.

Healthful Sleep, Luxury or Necessity for a Better Life?

Bev Dudley

Bev Dudley, RN, MA, MSN, PMHNP-BC, APRN, Health Partnership Clinic Volunteer

Post written by Bev Dudley, RN, MA, MSN, PMHNP-BC, APRN, Health Partnership Clinic Volunteer

We all must sleep. Everyone has light sensitive, internal hormonal alarms clocks called circadian rhythms which either promote sleep or wakefulness.

In addition, our personal choices during our waking hours can have an effect in promoting successful restorative sleep. These personal choices are collectively called, sleep hygiene.

Slight alterations in unhealthy sleep hygiene can make a difference in having a good night’s sleep.

In fact, better mental and physical health are in part, determined by healthful, quality sleep promotion choices.

Visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s website for public education at http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits for tips and information about how to change to better sleep hygiene habits.

Can sleep hygiene promote better sleep?

Research suggests that sleep promotion education may improve sleep quality.

Can poor sleep habits result in insomnia?

Research suggests that smoking and drinking alcohol just before bedtime may contribute to worsening or ongoing poor sleep. Of course, these are not the only factors which may decrease the quality of sleep. Turning out the lights and staying away from electronic devices will assist in sleep promotion.

SleepingYou do have important choices to make in promoting good sleep and better wakeful times. These can assist in improving many areas of your day.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers the following tips to establish healthy sleep habits:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.

Ten Benefits to Breastfeeding

Patty West

Patty West, APRN, Nurse Practitioner

Written by Patti West, APRN, Nurse Practitioner, Health Partnership Clinic

If you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if breastfeeding is for you.

Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children.

It’s affordable for everyone and doesn’t burden household budgets compared to formula.

World Breastfeeding Day is celebrated during the first week of August every year to bring awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and moms, as well as a wider push for maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security.

The decision to breastfeed or not remains a personal choice that each person must make.

Education is key. Start now and learn about the many benefits of breastfeeding.

BreastfeedingWhat are the benefits for babies and children?

1.) Boost in IQ for your child.

2.) 50 percent less likely for the baby to have Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

3.) Leaner baby and mother: baby is healthier, the mother loses 20 calories per ounce of milk she gives to the baby.

4.) Breastfeeding milk opposed to using formula is more customized to your baby’s needs. It is more digestible and has more antibodies than formula.

5.) Less diarrhea.

6.) Less respiratory infections.

7.) Less ear infections.

8.) Less skin infections.

9.) Lower risk of chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, asthma, some cancers).

10.) It’s affordable!

What are the benefits for mothers?

  • Calms mother by releasing a hormone called Oxytocin
  • Helps moms sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Great bonding for mother and child

Is there an economic benefit to breastfeeding?

Breast milk is free which is especially helpful with tight budgets. Plus it’s convenient and typically available on demand.

It was estimated that the United States would save $13 billion if moms breastfed for at least six months.

Starting on July 25, 2018, it became legal in all 50 states to breastfeed in public!

We care for newborns! Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We have clinics located in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa. For more information, call 913-648-2266.

Get a Jumpstart on the School Year!

Emily Bush

Emily Bush

Post written by, Emily Bush, MD, Pediatrician, Health Partnership Clinic

Do you need advice on how to prepare your child for this upcoming school year?

It can be difficult getting back into a regular schedule for both children and adults alike.

Luckily, Health Partnership Clinic offers some tips to better prepare your child or teen!

Tips for Back to School

  • Sleep Schedule
    Your body is a clock so you must program it to wake up and sleep around the same time every day. Be sure your child goes to bed on time and gets his or her necessary hours of sleep.
  • Self-esteem
    Confidence in the school environment is very valuable. Confidence can blossom in your child from self-care, relationships, school environment, and the examples you set. Tell your child they’re beautiful and smart and nourish them sufficiently to help your child’s self-esteem.
  • Nerves
    How to handle stress is very important for children so they can learn in a safe, comfortable environment. Show your child the school they will be attending before their first day. This will help develop a safe comfortable feeling in their new environment. If your child is stressed about starting, meeting new kids, or starting back up for some reason, ask them why. Then, help them develop healthy coping skills that will allow them to thrive in their new learning environment.
  • children and teacherHealthy Eating
    Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and low sugar diets help your child concentrate in school and enable them to finish tasks with more efficient energy at their best motivation level. Eating a high sugar diet causes a person to have a fast but short surge of energy. Unfortunately they typically then crash from exhaustion.
  • Backpack Safety
    Do not give your child a backpack that’s more than 10-20 percent of their body weight. Also, encourage them to not sling their backpack over one shoulder because this can cause straining of the muscles. Use soft pads on the straps to keep uncomfortable rubbing from occurring and irritating your child’s skin.
  • Car and Bus Safety
    Make sure your child knows to not load the bus until it is fully stationary… and never dart in front or back of a bus. In the car, make sure children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat and are buckled up. If your child is under age or height he or she must use a booster seat while seated in the back.
  • Walking to School
    If your child needs a way to get to school besides driving or taking the school bus, he or she can walk. However, stranger danger is a problem. Be sure to talk to your child about walking with a buddy or group to help prevent this and for road safety. Also walking in groups prevents your child from having accidents. Make sure the route your child walks is accessible to crosswalks with cross guards and that they’re walking against traffic. Remind your child to always look both ways before crossing the street, even on a crosswalk.
  • Meal timeBefore and After School Care
    If your child is an adolescent they should be supervised after school because they’not fully matured yet. Children going home to empty homes can cause many long-term issues. According to The American Journal of Nursing Science, (Issue 4, August 2015), bad habits become more normal for latchkey kids such as alcohol and drug abuse, peer pressure, as well as boredom, loneliness and anxiety. Be sure to have your child call you to make sure they safely arrive home.
  • Homework
    Give your child or teen a workspace to work in that’s quiet and free of distraction, such as electronics, noise and clutter. Children who have a quiet place to study will be able to focus better and enjoy studying.
  • Independence
    Your child may want to do something because “All of my friends are doing it”, but if you know they’re not mature enough, it’s important that you communicate that with them. It’s advised that adults slowly loosen the supervision they have on their child one step at a time, so that the child can healthily grow up to be a mature adult.

Feel free to talk to an HPC Pediatric Family health provider about any childhood concern. We offer a Pediatric Walk-In Clinic Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-Noon at our Olathe location for patients and the community.

Education is important, and we don’t want health factors to get in the way of your child’s learning. We have open appointments for school physicals, well-child exams, and more!

Call 913-648-2266 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

The Heat is On: Tips for a Safer Summer

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller, FNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner

Written by Jennifer Miller, FNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner

This summer, Health Partnership Clinic wants to help you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe while you’re on vacation…or just enjoying backyard fun.

What are some issues many Americans face during the Summer months?

Dehydration due to excessive heat exposure. Excessive heat exposure can cause dehydration, which in turn can cause dangerous conditions like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke (also known as sun stroke).

Combatting the toll of the heat and sun on your body will keep you healthy and active all summer long.

Another issue is sunburn. Adding sunscreen to your daily routine will help prevent painful sunburns. Early signs of skin aging and protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays that lead to the development of melanoma and skin cancer.

How common are dehydration and sunburn?

Dehydration happens much more in the summertime months because the heat causes your body to sweat more to keep cool. Dehydration can impact your bladder, mineral level intake and cognitive abilities.

Sunburn is less common unless you’re outside for long periods of time without sunscreen. Prevention is key to avoiding dehydration and skin damage. If you do get sunburn use:  Aloe Vera, a cool wet washcloth and take ibuprofen or aspirin to decrease inflammation.

Can you prevent dehydration and sunburn from happening to you?



Here are some tips:

-Wear the right kind of sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the more of a protectant it is.

Use a sunscreen that is “Broad Spectrum” protecting.  Broad spectrum means it will protect you from the two types of sun rays that harm your body and skin.

This type will protect you from UVA rays which regular sunscreens do not shield you from.

-Do not use tanning beds or lamps because they are known to cause cancer and damage skin.

-Water resistant sunscreen is not the same as waterproof. The American Cancer Association warns that water-resistant sunscreen, if applied before swimming or exercising, should be re-applied at least every two hours to avoid burns or other harmful effects from the sun.

-Sparkling water and Gatorade are good for hydration but plain water is the best. When exercising, plain water is best to avoid bloating.

Gatorade is great for rough sports or illnesses that cause the body to lose important minerals and electrolytes particularly when those people are in the heat. Gatorade is good for that, as well as for people in the heat with diabetes who take medication that cause them to urinate more.

This is also an issue for people who take blood pressure medication. For infants and younger children, they may not know that they’re thirsty, so you must watch to make sure they stay hydrated, especially in the summer. Signs of this may be no wet diapers after three hours for babies, dizziness and fewer trips to the bathroom for older people.

Call 913-648-2266 to schedule an appointment with a provider at our Olathe, Ottawa, Paola, or Shawnee Mission clinics. The Pediatric Walk-In Clinic is open from 7:30 a.m.-Noon on Monday through Friday at the Olathe site.

This service is open to the community; no appointment is necessary. The Walk-In Clinic offers treatment for minor illnesses, coughs, colds, flu, sore throat, minor pain and skin rashes.

Have a great summer and stay safe!

HPC’s School-Based Health Clinic at Merriam Park Will Be Open This Summer

MP BH pic 2Post written by Catherine Rice, VP of Marketing and Outreach

Health Partnership Clinic’s (HPC) school-based clinic at Merriam Park Elementary School will continue to see children throughout the summer.

The clinic offers pediatric-focused medical and dental care as well as behavioral health services.

The medical provider can perform annual sports physicals, school physicals, well-child check-ups, immunizations, lab work, and sick-child visits.

Children can also receive dental cleanings and check-ups from a dental hygienist. Appointments can be made for a behavioral health visit as well.

The clinic is open only to Shawnee Mission School District Students and their siblings.


Merriam Park Elementary School
6100 Mastin St.
Merriam, KS 66203

Walk-in hours for well or sick visits and annual/sports physicals to include immunizations

12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays

For more information, call 913-648-2266.

MP BH pic 1By-appointment hours for behavioral health visits

8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays

For an appointment, call 913-993-3638.

HPC accepts KanCare/Medicaid, commercial insurance and uninsured patients.

A sliding fee program also is available to those who qualify. To apply for the Sliding Fee Discount Program, documents that prove income level are required.

Items to take with you to your appointment

  • Driver’s License or Picture ID card
  • Insurance card (if insured)
  • Copay
  • Credit, debit, cash or check
  • Immunization record, if available
  • Medication list

Stay Safe this Fourth of July

Hibba A. Haider, MD

Hibba A. Haider, MD

Post written by Hibba A. Haider, MD

The Fourth of July holiday is a time when families gather and enjoy traditions such as parades, pool parties, backyard barbecues and fireworks.

However, it can be easy for parents to overlook important safety precautions. By keeping a few key Fourth of July safety tips in mind, parents can help keep children safe while still enjoying the holiday fun.

Leave fireworks to the experts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families NOT to buy fireworks for their own or their children’s use, as thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured each year while using consumer fireworks.

  • Fireworks can result in severe burns, scars, disfigurement and even death.
  • Families should attend community fireworks displays run by trained professionals rather than using fireworks at home.
  • Be sure to stay at least 500 feet away from the show.

Keep sparklers off limits.

  • 4th of JulySparklers can surpass 1200 °F, which is a temperature of 400 °F greater than the melting point of glass. In recent years, sparklers accounted for 28 percent of emergency room visits due to fireworks-related injuries, including third-degree burns.
  • Consider giving glow sticks, which is a fun and safe alternative.

Be sensitive to your child’s feelings.

  • Some children enjoy the sight of fireworks, but others can be overwhelmed. Loud noises in combination with flickering lights can cause children to feel sensory overload. Intense sights, crowds and sounds can simply be too much for young children to handle.
  • If you anticipate that your child may feel fearful their first time watching fireworks, keep plans brief and provide earplugs to help ease stimulation.
  • Prepare your child with knowledge of what to expect to alleviate potential anxiety and never push them to “get over it” if they are feeling frightened.
  • Don’t be shy to head home and try again next year.

Enforce water safety.

If a pool party or a trip to the lake is in your plans, remember, children must be supervised around bodies of water 100 percent of the time.

  • Always make sure that adults take turns in shifts every 15-30 minutes as designated “water watchers.”
  • Sign up your children for swim classes.
    • Start your baby in swimming classes at six months of age and continue them year-round.
  • Know CPR.
  • Never use floatation devices or water wings when swimming or when teaching kids to swim.
  • Always make sure your kids wear life jackets on boats, personal watercraft and in open bodies of water.
  • Communicate the pool rules, no running, diving, etc.
  • Sunblock, hydration and supervision are all essential pool safety precautions that help keep the day fun and safe.

Don’t forget about barbecue safety.

  • Kid having happy time in the pool waterCreate a barbecue-only zone of three feet on all sides that is restricted to be a space designated for adults.
    • Children should be reminded that a grill is not a toy and that the equipment is both hot and dangerous.
  • Always grill in a well-ventilated area.
  • Be prepared for an emergency by having a fire extinguisher and a spray bottle of water on-hand.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools specially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Be prepared…protect your skin.

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 30 which will protect against damage from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply sunscreen often.
  • If you are in an outdoor pool, reapply sunscreen preferably every hour and absolutely every two hours. Avoid having young children in an outdoor pool longer than one hour especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty.
    • Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight and have a polarized coating.
  • Protect the feet – the sand can burn, and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
  • During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
    • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
    • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
    • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

When Those Who Are Hurting Don’t Get Help


Rhiannon Moore, MA, PSYD

Post written by Dr. Rhiannon Moore
Licensed Psychologist
Assistant Director of Behavioral Health
Health Partnership Clinic

Each year the month of May is nationally recognized as “Mental Health Month.”

Participating in Mental Health Month provides a valuable opportunity to highlight psychiatric illness and reduce the stigma often faced by those living with conditions including depression, anxiety, Schizophrenia, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, personality disorders and many more. This associated stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need and deserve.

Any fan of horror movies is probably familiar with mental health stigma, though you may not have recognized it as such. Numerous movies, television shows, and books often portray individuals with mental illness as “bad” or “scary”, casting them in the role of villains.

There are also several examples of mental health providers (psychiatrists, therapists, etc.) who “brainwash” or try to control or manipulate patients who seek help or fail to help when treatment is sought.

Additionally, it is common to hear news reports linking mental illness and violent crime. These messages have become part of our social culture, reinforcing stereotypes which lead to distrust of mental health professionals and fear of individuals living with mental illness.

However, the facts simply don’t support these stereotypes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice one in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness in their lifetime. That totals approximately 43.8 million individuals.

Of those, approximately one in 10 experiences a serious mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Despite the common occurrence of mental illness within the general American population, a 2014 study published online by Law and Human Behavior found that less than one in five crimes were directly linked to symptoms of mental illness (1).

Given the prevalence of mental illness, it is highly likely someone you know personally has experienced or will experience mental illness. Those experiencing mental illness are family members, friends, teachers, doctors, lawyers, students, and others you see every day. Yet, because of stigma many do not seek help.

Countless others have limited access to mental health services due to underfunding of mental health programs. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates approximately 60 percent of individuals living with mental illness do not access services in a given year.

Self careStigma and barriers to care have an even greater impact on minority populations, resulting in Hispanic and African American individuals accessing psychiatric services at about half the rate of white individuals according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

When individuals utilize appropriate services, recovery and/or significant symptom reduction is possible.

In fact, the recovery rate for Bipolar Disorder is estimated at 80 percent, while the recovery rate for Major Depression is estimated to be between 65 percent and 80 percent and the recovery rate for Schizophrenia is estimated to be 60 percent, when appropriate interventions such as medication and therapy are obtained, according to the National Advisory Mental Health Council.

However, much like physical health conditions, when symptoms of mental illness go untreated they can worsen and result in more significant impairment.

So, let’s work to break the cycle of stigma which limits help-seeking by highlighting the accomplishments of some well-known individuals who have experienced mental illness. This list includes politicians and rulers like 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln and Princess Diana who both battled clinical depression.

Scientists and inventors are also among this list, including Nikola Tesla who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Charles Darwin who battled Agoraphobia. Authors including Charles Dickens (clinical depression), Virginia Woolf (Bipolar Disorder) and Sylvia Plath (clinical depression) are also included.

The list goes on to include composers and musicians: Elton John (Bulimia), Ludwig van Beethoven (Bipolar Disorder), and Demi Lovato (Bipolar Disorder), athletes: Serena Williams (anxiety) and Michael Phelps (ADHD), and actors: Catherine Zeta Jones and Ben Stiller (Bipolar Disorder), Leonardo DiCaprio (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and Brooke Shields (Post-Partum Depression).

If we truly hope to eliminate harmful mental health stigma, we’ll have to keep this conversation going for more than a single month per year. And we’ll need plenty of voices. There are numerous ways to be an advocate for mental health. Here are a few ways to reduce mental health stigma in your daily life:

  1. Be intentional with your language, avoiding stigmatizing words and phrases like “crazy,” “freak,” or “Suck it up. Be a man.” Avoid referring to yourself, others, or situations in mental health terms (unless these have actually been diagnosed) such as: “I am so OCD” because you have a strong preference for something or “The weather is so bipolar.”
  2. Think of mental health conditions like you think of physical health conditions, illness that require understanding and treatment. Encourage others to do the same. Be empathetic and supportive of those struggling with mental illness.
  3. Educate yourself about available treatment options and encourage friends/loved ones to seek help when needed. Also, reach out for help if you are personally struggling with mental illness.
  4. Encourage open expression of emotion, routine self-care, and living healthy, balanced lifestyles. Model these when you can.
  5. Follow organizations like National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America (MHA), and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
  6. Challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about mental illness when you hear them in conversation or see them on social media.
  7. Normalize talking about these topics and living with these conditions. If you work in health care, understand the relationship between physical and mental health. Talk regularly and openly with your patients about these topics. If you have children (or interact with children regularly), make it an ongoing conversation.
  8. Understand that individuals are not defined by mental illness. Look for strengths and qualities to appreciate, respect, and admire in all people.
  9. Be mindful of what you post on social media. Fact check and ensure your sources are reliable.
  10. Continue your own education about topics related to mental health. Here are a few book recommendations (and links to buy them) to get you started:

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat

The Boy who was Raised as a Dog

I Hate You- Don’t Leave Me

  1. Peterson, J., Kennealy, P., Skeem, J., Bray, B., & Zvonkovic, A. (2014). “How often and How Consistently do Symptoms Directly Precede Criminal Behavior Among Offenders with Mental Illness?” Law and Human Behavior.

Do You Focus on Fitness #4Mind4Body?


Rhiannon Moore, MA, PSYD


Health Partnership celebrates Mental Health Month in May

Conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are common and treatable. The stigma surrounding these conditions often keeps people from seeking the help they need.

However, symptoms of mental illness often overlap with physical conditions, making it important to focus on mental health in an effort to promote overall well-being.

Thinking of mental illness like we think of physical illness and seeking treatment from qualified professionals is the first step in achieving overall wellness.

May marks Mental Health Month. Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body.

Community members and patients are invited to stop by our Olathe clinic, located at 407 S. Clairborne Rd., Suite 104, Olathe, Kansas throughout the month of May to pick up a complimentary bottle of water, promotional items, and health information.

We also encourage all patients to speak with a Behavioral Health Clinician (BHC) about any concerns regarding stress, anxiety, depression, grief, ADHD, other mental illness and/or management of chronic physical health conditions. Schedule an appointment by calling (913.648.2266) or ask for a BHC at your next medical or dental appointment.

The #4Mind4Body campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals about how healthy eating, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.

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A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role in helping people recover from these conditions.

Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and contributes to longer and healthier lives. Recent research is also connecting nutrition and gut health with mental health.

Additionally, sleep plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a consistent, adequate sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities.

And we all know that stress can have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga. Keep an eye out for other tips for managing stress on HPC’s Facebook page throughout the month of May.

At Health Partnership, we want everyone to know that mental illnesses are real and, like physical health conditions, can be managed via lifestyle changes, therapy, medication, and/or self-care.

Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by focusing daily on your overall health – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring Fitness #4Mind4Body.

For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.