Integrated Behavioral Health is both a philosophy and healthcare model based on the idea that physical and emotional health are connected and should be addressed together for the best possible health outcomes. In this model, both primary care physicians and behavioral health providers (BHP) collaborate to address physical, developmental, social, behavioral, and emotional needs. Integrated behavioral health acknowledges the role of behavior in medical care and the importance of mental health care on physical well-being. We have assembled this document to answer some common questions about Integrated Behavioral Health.
Everything. As human beings, our physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health are inextricably intertwined. Medical issues often have a significant behavioral component. Behavioral issues often have a significant physiological component. At HopeCentral, we think of ourselves as primary care providers for medical and behavioral health issues. BHP’s focus on behavior changes that improve function whether it be for behavioral health or medical issues. For example, an anxious child who is having trouble getting motivated to go to school can be helped with strategies to move through the morning and engage with school. Many times these strategies will be enough to address the underlying anxiety issues. However if they do not, the BHP together with the pediatrician can move on to other therapies or make a referral to outside specialty services. Having BHP’s on staff allows HopeCentral to closely coordinate care with other mental health providers.
No. It is likely that you will be introduced to the BHP during your first visit. You will have the chance to ask any questions or pose concerns about you child at this time. When you bring your child in for any appointment, you may always request to meet with the BHP. If the pediatrician thinks that your child might benefit from meeting with the BHP, they will invite the BHP to stop by during your visit. The BHP and the pediatrician work closely to provide well rounded care. Sometimes, the pediatrician or BHP may recommend that your child return for a follow-up appointment with the BHP. Back to top.
You do not have to meet with the BHP to receive care at HopeCentral. Our clinic values holistic care that treats the whole person, including behavioral and emotional problems that may get in the way of good health. Although including the BHP in your child’s care is highly recommended, it is not required if you wish to decline. Back to top.
In our mission to deliver quality, integrated behavioral healthcare, we believe that care is best provided through a collaborative and team-based approach involving both our physicians and BHC’s. We may consider brief and focused BHC consultations on a case-by-case basis. Back to top.
Even when a chief complaint is primarily behavioral in nature, initial appointments are always scheduled first with our pediatricians, who lead the care team. A BHP will be on site and available to accommodate patients as the need arises and will schedule follow-up appointments if necessary. Back to top.
Change is hard and the treatment plan for many issues requires significant behavior change. Behavioral health support provides robust resources to parents and children to make necessary changes in their lives. Issues can range from the minor, like a refusal to drink milk, to the significant like the changes to nutrition, physical activity, and medication potentially required by a newly diagnosed case of diabetes. In all of these issues, BHP’s can help parents and children with practical strategies to successfully navigate these changes.
In addition, the many changes in a normal child’s growth and development can be bewildering to parents and children alike. HopeCentral’s BHP’s can help our pediatricians assess children as they grow and provide counsel to parents about what behaviors are within the normal range for development and what might be cause for greater concern. Similar to how pediatricians help kids avoid unhealthy behaviors and stay healthy, BHP’s can help kids avoid harmful or unhelpful behaviors and thought patterns.
HopeCentral’s Behavioral Health Director Dr. T.K. Brasted is a licensed, clinical child psychologist with specialty training and experience in the field of health and primary care psychology. Our BHP staff also includes doctoral and master’s level trainees who are also specially trained in health psychology and supervised by Dr. Brasted. Back to top.
Although our Behavioral Health Director Dr. T.K. Brasted is trained and licensed to provide mental health treatment, integrative primary care does not involve mental health therapy. Rather, BHP’s work with our pediatricians to help improve your child’s behavioral and emotional functioning, as well as to support the behavioral aspects of medical treatment through brief, focused interventions. The BHP may provide information and plans for issues such as bed times, taking medications, implementing dietary changes, handling temper tantrums, and more. Back to top.
In “traditional” therapy, a clinician may meet with you and your child for an hour each week for multiple weeks. This form of mental health treatment often includes a mental health diagnosis and corresponding treatment to address the diagnosis. In integrative primary care, the BHP screens for and identifies specific concerns or problems that impact your child’s functioning. The BHP will work with you to come up with a plan to address these problems. This may include only a few follow up appointments. If the problem does not improve or if there is severe impairments associated with the problem, a referral to a mental health therapist may be made. Back to top.
The BHP may meet with you briefly during your child’s visit. The appointment may be very brief or longer, depending on the reason for the visit. During this time, the BHP will provide feedback and information on any issues of concern for your child. The BHP may suggest that you schedule a follow up appointment to check in on progress. Back to top.
Information provided to the BHP will be shared with the pediatrician in order to coordinate care. The pediatrician and BHP work as a team to address your child’s needs and therefore, it is important for them to share information. However, any encounters with the BHP are protected under HIPAA, just as your child’s medical records. Back to top.
The integrative approach does not necessarily make a distinction between primary care and mental health services. At HopeCentral, we consider both as health services. Back to top.