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Taking better care of your mental health is now made easier by taking advantage of behavioral health integration. This type of care deals with medical illnesses, health behaviors, substance abuse conditions, life stressors, and stress-related physical symptoms. It combines medical conditions and other behavior-related factors that affect your health. Because it aims to provide you with better care as a whole person, it is also known as being part of whole-person care, a practice of high-quality healthcare that is becoming increasingly popular.

Taking care of someone’s whole health involves addressing physical, behavioral, and social health. While integrated care is effective in improving one’s health, there are many challenges associated with it. Read on to learn more about them.

What Is the Challenge in Delivery of Behavioral Health Integration?

Mental, behavioral, and psychosocial issues are deeply intertwined. For instance, many patients come to primary care-seeking relief for physical symptoms caused by behavioral, mental, or psychosocial problems. Some physical-related illnesses can also lead to mental issues.

These problems lead to challenges in integrated care. For example, people who suffer from mental or substance abuse require close evidence-based adjustment of treatment to reach clinical targets. On the other hand, some acutely agitated or violent patients regularly visit primary care. Unfortunately, many don’t have ready access to behavioral health expertise, making primary care providers fail to meet their patients’ needs or even call for emergency assistance.

What Is the Challenge Faced by Patients Seeking Integrated Care?

There is a stigma associated with seeing a behavioral health specialist, primarily because of the lack of knowledge about its benefits and absence of insurance coverage for behavioral health services. To resolve this issue, a behavioral health specialist should be present in every primary care team. This way, patients can easily access integrated care and avoid the negative connotation of seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment.

How Can Care Providers Improve Their Healthcare Services?

Many primary care providers treat behavioral health as a consultative specialty accessed by referral. However, relying on referrals can lead to miscommunications, care coordination problems, and no-shows. This is especially true for patients with substance abuse or mental health problems. 

Because of this, care providers are advised to provide brief counseling for those who may need additional support and ensure ready access to crisis management and assessment for distressed patients. They can also offer collaborative care in primary care through full integration, co-location, or collaboration with outsourced substance abuse consultants, psychiatrists, or behavioral health service providers. 

By making these changes, they can give patients easy access to mental health expertise and the help they need for other behavioral health-related issues. As a result, care providers can expect higher rates of remission and recovery. 

Conclusion

Dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems can be sensitive for many. If you are a healthcare provider handling patients with these issues, you can help them gain access to their much-needed help without having to worry about the stigma surrounding these problems through behavioral health integration. Look for a healthcare facility near you to overcome the challenges listed above and take advantage of the benefits offered by this type of care.

Let us help you simplify your patients’ healthcare experience through behavioral health management, remote patient monitoring, and care plan development and adherence. At Medistics, we can assign dedicated care managers to help provide better care for your patients. Contact us to learn more about our programs!

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