Dr.Vidushi Savant and Dr.Sonia Parikh talk about how they are working for stamping out stigma through SavantCare by increasing education and spreading awareness about mental health disorders.
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Lisa Yokota – According to the CDC one in four people in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder here to talk about the importance of wiping out the stigma of mental illness is dr. Sonya Parikh and dr. Badu she savant of cofounders of savant Systems welcome thank you very late to be here well you don’t KTVU news we have had a lot of stories about mental illness in the news recently I mean how does that affect public perception of mental illness?
Vidushi Savant – It definitely makes the stigma worse people already think that you know coming to psychiatrists is…they look they it’s looked down upon people might think they’re crazy getting help means weakness they’re already you know that sort of stigma around mental health and it just kind of adds on to that…
Lisa Yokota – Well talking about that your your mission sort of statement is stamping out stigma right?
Vidushi Savant – Yes
Lisa Yokota – What exactly do you mean by that?
Sonia Parikh – So, we founded savant systems which is a non-profit and the primary mission is stamping out stigma and what that means is increasing you know our main aim is to increase education and awareness about mental disorders in hopes of improving stigma and you know by increasing understanding about these very real and important illnesses. And you know in hopes that people who need care will be encouraged to seek the help that they need
Lisa Yokota – One of the most pervasive might be I guess depression. Right? As a mental illness and a lot of people might think is… they might not characterize that as an illness. Right? But how many would you say I mean what do you say to people who sort of say well depression is not a mental illness it’s just something that in motion that you feel?
Sonia Parikh – Well you know we all feel sad and depressed at times. And sometimes sadness can be a normal reaction to you know loss or stress or injured self-esteem. But when sadness intense and is characterized by hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness lasts for many days two weeks and interferes with your function then it may meet criteria for being clinical depression and clinical depression is essentially, it is a medical disorder with a biologic basis.
Lisa Yokota – And typically, how would you suggest that people will get treated for such?
Vidushi Savant – So, basically I mean the two mainstays of treatment are therapy and medication. And most research suggests that they work best in combination. There is a definite physical basis for depression and with better technology we are able to better see it more and more so like with functional MRIs and nuclear scans of the brain we can actually see that the brain of a person, during depression or before depression is different or brain of a person who’s thinking normally versus a person who’s very depressed, worked in different ways and the medication to some extent does does reverse that change. So, my goal is usually to first convince the patient that there is a definite biological basis for this illness. If a person with hypertension or a person with diabetes should not feel shame taking antihypertensives or insulin then why should a person with depression feel shame about taking antidepressants
Lisa Yokota – Good point so the opposite of that is your argument that… sometimes mental illness can lead to physical illness
Vidushi Savant – Mm-hmm…absolutely absolutely their depression and heart disorders heart disease are very highly co-morbid and people, so depression is now a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and stroke…
Lisa Yokota – Wow
Vidushi Savant – So
Sonia Parikh – Yeah if you think about it you know someone who’s depressed doesn’t take care of themselves as well you know they maybe don’t eat as regularly don’t sleep as regularly and so self-care can be poor and then in addition there’s evidence that you know that the stress hormones are more activated in someone who is depressed and inflammation is more activated and someone who’s depressed and so that can is one of the kind of intuitive explanations for why medical illnesses may kind of be co-morbid with depression.
Lisa Yokota – Well we don’t have a lot of time left but I want to touch upon something which we were talking about which is the new immigrant community and mental illness and the fact that treating it is so difficult in in what way is it difficult or more difficult
Vidushi Savant – Well there are many barriers to care for this community. The access to care and their perception of mental health is that the stigma is definitely stronger there’s the sense of the if they go see a psychiatrist it’s not just about them they’ll bring the family shame. So the you know since in Asian American communities family is is the group is more important than the individual whereas in U.S. being a more individualistic society is to its reverse. So, in this particular population it’s even harder to, for them to come for treatment
Lisa Yokota – I see well let’s talk because I don’t want to run out of time about the free workshop and seminar that’s taking place on June 4th really quick can you tell us about it?
Vidushi Savant – Of course.
Sonia Parikh – So, the topic is addiction and we’re gonna you know cover as much as we can as far as you know what what leads to addiction different types of addiction very common ones like marijuana even prescription medications that you can get addicted to even though your doctors are prescribing them and what long-term effects that can have on a developing brain, you know like a child a lot of adolescents use marijuana for example um or you know even adults and and different psychiatric problems that can arise
Vidushi Savant – And we also want to you know stress the biologic basis of addiction there’s you know genetic and biochemical changes that happen in your brain when you get addicted to something. So you also you know want to stress that there is treatment for that then people do medic, you know… respond to medications…
Lisa Yokota – Well terrific. Thank you doctor so much for being here
Vidushi Savant – Of course.
Sonia Parikh – Thank you.
Vidushi Savant – It’s our pleasure.
Lisa Yokota – For more information about savant systems and it’s free workshop and seminar on addiction on June 4th in Los Altos, log on to stampoutstigma.us. Up next East Bay mud Charles Bollig explains the new water use rules affecting all customers and share some tips on how you can reduce your water use by 20% that’s coming up when Bay Area people continue. Stay with us.