I first became aware that I was
struggling with drugs and alcohol when I was about 17 years old. I felt so ashamed,
so guilty. I was just completely broken. I remember my mother walking into my
room as I was packing my bags for treatment and just crying to her
thinking, you know, I had all these hopes. I had all these dreams. When I was 15, I
started to lose a lot of weight. I basically wasn’t eating at all for maybe
a week at a time. I would have done that until I died if I had not gotten the
treatment that I received. If a loved one of yours was seeking care,
what would you want? You would want that care to be really integrated and
streamlined, and all the issues associated with that particular
individual could be addressed in one care system. So the Behavioral Health
Initiative has been working with our community partners to understand
integration of care. Across the country, integration of care has been well
established within integrated health systems. What’s unique about our project
is that we’re working with individual community partners – so behavioral health
partners, physical health partners – and helping them understand what integration
of care, what a model might look like within their own organization. That’s, I
think, what the Behavioral Health Initiative is trying to foster to
have this easy flow that exists between behavioral health and physical healthcare. So that people can get integrated, comprehensive, quality healthcare that
addresses many things at the same time. Growing concerns with the amount of
pregnant women that were seeking services at Circle of Care the last two
years really motivated us to take a step back and evaluate what our role is in
the opioid crisis in our region and with the growing number of addicted moms. We
felt strongly that we needed to take a role with our prevention and now
intervention. If somebody comes to a point where they’re ready to take on recovery – it’s not planned often. It’s just an immediate need, and there’s a catalyst
happening. So it’s important for whoever is getting that disclosure know how to
handle that, know the community resources. And we have so many community resources. Integration will benefit the patients because you have everybody talking to each other. You’ll have the primary care doctor know what’s happening on the
behavioral health side, and you’ll have the pharmacy as part of that discussion
as well. So everybody’s on the same page as far as treatment for that individual
goes. And at the end of the day, that communication is going to lead to better
outcomes for our clients. We want to promote people getting better, being
happier, being more productive, feeling more socially connected. I believe that
with programs like the BHI talking about integration that it’s possible to have a
doctor who can do both, and that is what I hope to be.

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