By Darlene Sejour, Chief Nursing Officer, MiraVista & TaraVista Behavioral Health Centers
Mental Health Awareness Month in May reminds us of the importance of mental wellness in our daily life and the need to seek treatment if poor mental health interferes with it. More than half of adults interviewed in a recent nationwide survey reported their families had experienced a severe mental health crisis last year.
Early intervention, especially in young adults, can prevent an acute condition from becoming chronic. Last year, Massachusetts introduced several legislative reforms to streamline and fund better access to timely care close to home for mental and behavioral health services.
Stigma around discussing mental health has also lessened – though far from dissipated – as the pandemic made more people aware of its negative impact on their mental health. Every community needs a continuum of services to support the mental health of residents and encourage them to access help when symptoms interfere with daily life.
A behavioral health hospital is an important component of these services. Misinformation and self-stigma around what it means to have a mental health illness and need care, including inpatient treatment, can make an individual and their family members reluctant to do so.
I have had a long career in psychiatric nursing and as Chief Nursing Officer at TaraVista Behavioral Health Hospital and, more recently, at our sister hospital MiraVista as well, I know what a difference inpatient care can make for someone in crisis with a severe mental illness.
Our hospitals offer an interdisciplinary approach to delivering mental health care and are supportive of our staff in what they do.
We make room for a conversation when an individual or their family have concerns about inpatient psychiatric treatment. It is never as simple as to say “trust us.” It is being able to hear what their concerns are and to speak to their trepidations.
Our goal is to maintain a collaborative environment where responsibility of care lies within the patient and we as a team support them in the endeavor to wellness.
Working to build collaboration with patients’ caregivers is critical to the outcome of their loved ones. This collaboration sets the foundation to understand their challenges and needs, and to develop a comprehensive plan of care.
The purpose of MiraVista “is to provide compassionate, effective, inspiring care for those suffering from emotional distress and substance misuse so they are empowered to lead fulfilling lives.” It is our goal that each person we are privileged to care for will serve as testament to this goal and will share that MiraVista is a beacon of hope in the community.
As Chief Nursing Officer, Darlene is responsible for overseeing the nursing department and clinical operations at MiraVista and TaraVista Behavioral Health Centers. She is actively involved in recruiting, hiring, training, and evaluating nurses, and is a strong advocate for the field of psychiatric nursing, ensuring that the nursing team has the resources, support, and guidance needed to provide only the highest quality care to patients. Darlene holds both a Master’s Degree and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.