What’s changed in mental health care since you started your career? “Every aspect of mental health has changed. There is more acceptance of mental illness as a legitimate illness that should be treated and less stigma around seeking treatment. The medications are seen as a very important tool that makes a significant difference for people that take it and respond to it. These medications are quicker to take effect and many have fewer side effects, making them more ‘user friendly.’ I have seen an increase in understanding that children and adolescents are frequently in need of counseling since they, too, can be diagnosed with anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. When I started many years ago, there was a belief that children and adolescents couldn’t suffer from depression unless there was a reason, for example, a death in the family.”
What’s one thing that we could do this month to give a boost to our own mental health? “Engage in an activity that is outside with a friend. We have had a long winter and it will be wonderful to get outside and to spend time in nature. Also, having someone participate with us increases our enjoyment of the moment.”
What do you most enjoy doing outside of work? “I am very interested in learning new things, so I like to travel with family and friends and go to movies, plays, and art galleries. My very favorite activity is spending time with family and friends over a meal, enjoying the time together.”
Kathy Miller has been a family therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor for more than 40 years. She founded Oasis: The Center for Mental Health in Annapolis in 2004 to answer a community need for urgent care in the mental health arena. She also maintains a private practice in West Annapolis.