HMC Offers Behavioral Healthcare Programs
Physical health issues are usually easy to recognize – if a person has an ache or pain, or feels unwell, it generally means a trip to the doctor to have it diagnosed and treated. Mental and behavioral issues may not be so easy to self identify – the symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief, and mental issues associated with physical ailments may be more subtle. The Highland Medical Center now has the staff and capabilities to assess and treat such issues. Behavioral Health Program Coordinator Jeanne Flinn explained more.
“We were hearing from the community that there was a need for mental health services locally, so that folks didn’t have to travel to Augusta or Bath when they needed counseling, and the Department of Health and Human Services also recognized that we needed a program In Highland County, and last November we received a grant to develop a behavioral health program.
“We have Donna Mauck, who is a licensed clinical social worker. She works primarily with adults. Sandy Stinnitt is a licensed professional counselor, and she works primarily with our children and youth.
“I’m a licensed clinical social worker, and I work with the chronic disease management program, and that’s working with individuals that have diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity – and they need to learn how to self manage their program, with or without medication.
“We are seeing a lot of individuals with depression, we see anxiety disorders, we deal with grief, and pretty much anything where there’s a psychological/psychiatric issue.”
Patients who recognize they need assistance can make an appointment directly, but there are other methods that staff can use to assess potential issues.
“We’re what’s called an integrated health care center, which means we’re trying to provide as many services in our center as we possibly can. So if an individual comes in, we screen annually, all patients, for depression and substance abuse – it’s a requirement of the program. Depending on how an individual scores on those screens, the provider may talk with those patients, to see if they’re interested in counseling. At that point, the provider can come to one of us, and say “we have an individual, this is what the issue is, can you see them now”, so that we’re seeing them the same day, doing our initial assessment, and getting a treatment plan started, and additional appointments if necessary.
Ms. Flinn shared an interesting example of how the behavioral healthcare program works.
“I don’t know whether Highland County is aware of the high rate of diabetes they have, but 12 out of every 100 individuals living in Highland County have a diagnosis of diabetes. And unfortunately, a lot of individuals that I see with diabetes think, well, they’re on medication, and that’s all they need to do, but there’s more to it than that – there’s diet and exercise. I say diet, it’s more healthy living – it’s learning what to eat, and how much to eat. Of folks just control their portions and size, that’s a big part of it. But that goes along with the other diseases also, as well as behavioral health, because if we’re eating healthy, it’s going to help us feel better.”
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Highland Medical Center at 540-468-6400.