The Importance of Integrated Care

in Blog
March 18, 2016

shutterstock_226582441
It’s hard to avoid getting advice about health and wellness these days. Every time we turn on our morning news shows, open the newspaper, or check out our Facebook newsfeed, we get tips and tricks to keep our diets on track. When we’re at the doctor, we hear about the best medications to lower our blood pressure. And, because there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done, we wonder if there’s an hour that we can spare to exercise or simply take the dog for a walk. But, more often than not, these moments reflect our concerns about physical health, and we rarely recognize the importance of staying mentally fit as well as physically well.

The mind and the body work together to regulate each other. When we exercise our bodies, our minds benefit from a release of chemicals that help ease sadness and anxiety. Similarly, when we experience depression, we often feel aches and fatigue in our bodies. Most people know that they should see a doctor when they are experiencing physical ailments, but they may not know that there could be a correlation between their physical conditions and their mental health. Untreated depression can prevent people from managing other conditions and often worsens their physical symptoms.

In 2011, 34 million adults (17% of American adults) had mental health AND medical or “co-morbid” conditions. (Third Way, Healthcare Report, Kendall and Quill, June 2015). Moreover, people living with serious and persistent mental illnesses often have physical illnesses that go untreated. They may take medications that can affect their metabolisms, causing weight gain, diabetes, and other serious health problems.

Often, stigma is to blame. Even with increased awareness of behavioral health challenges and treatment, there is still far more stigma attached to these than physical conditions. The easier it is to access behavioral health care at the same time as physical care, the less likely people will feel the stigma of treatment — and the healthier they will be.

When health providers treat underlying behavioral health issues instead of just diagnosing physical conditions, people are happier, live longer, and require fewer healthcare services. People being treated for a mental health condition should look for a primary care provider who understands how the mind and the body work together and helps them develop a wellness plan that supports “whole person health.”

That’s why North Range Behavioral Health believes in the importance of integrated care – treating the whole person, mind AND body. Our medical team is skilled at assessing all conditions that may be effecting one’s wellbeing. We partner with Sunrise Community Health, Salud Family Health Center, and Banner Health to offer integrated care services. Our care coordinators are also available to help improve communication and coordination between patients and providers.

Visit www.northrange.org/integratedcare to learn more about our approach to “whole person health.”

NRBH_IntegratedHealth_Website-Sidebar-v_09-24-15