How Care Coordinators personalize mental healthcare

People holding hands in support

Mental healthcare is often very impersonal. Typically, people with depression or anxiety follow the following steps:

  1. See a psychiatrist
  2. Try an antidepressant
  3. Wait weeks to discuss their progress
  4. Change dosage or drug
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until recovery.

This process takes months, but patients often handle issues, such as side effects, on their own. Without a professional to turn to, treatment takes a physical and emotional toll on patients.

At Prairie, we make sure that people have continuous support throughout their care journey. As a Care Coordinator, I connect with each person from the very beginning and support them through the process of care so they feel confident with what to expect in their journey. Here, I’ll share some of the ways I’ve supported people in the past.

Treatment often takes a physical and emotional toll on patients.

When receiving medications, especially for the first time, it can be difficult to remember what the doctor said and know what to expect with medication. I have worked with people who found themselves doing an internet search of potential side effects and working themselves into a downward spiral of fear. Rather than leaving it up to the individual to do their own research, a Care Coordinator is available daily to answer any questions that may come up around medication. Care Coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about mental health, and approach concerns from an informed perspective. By being able to communicate with the psychiatrist directly, Care Coordinators are able to get the most accurate information in between appointments. Having a team on your side allows for much more peace of mind.

Navigating treatment is tough; many patients simply choose to put their mental health on the back burner.

From taking time off work for appointments to handling ineffective care, there’s a lot to handle. With a Care Coordinator, people are able to take some of the guesswork out of their treatment. I’m available to chat about concerns, questions or confusion in regards to their medication, treatment plan, and accessing their psychiatrist visits. People can count on me to check-in about their progress with medication and make sure they have an appointment on the calendar with their psychiatrist as necessary.

At Prairie, we try to make things as easy as possible with telehealth visits and delivery of medications. However, things may still come up that are unexpected. I have heard stories about people having difficulty meeting with their outside psychiatrist, not knowing who to reach out to for help, and eventually giving up. That would not happen with a Care Coordinator.  I had people reach out to me in the moment when they were unclear about how to join their online appointment, and we work through it together. On more than one occasion, I have even joined the call until the doctor and patient were both in the room and ready to begin. 

Patients have to overcome many different issues in order to receive mental healthcare.
Some issues are graphed above, ordered by the percent of patients they affect.

 

It’s difficult for patients to keep track of their symptoms and side effects.

Patients in psychiatric practices typically only see their psychiatrist for less than 10 minutes, which isn’t enough time to cover their concerns and questions. Unsurprisingly, people tend to give up before finding a medication that works. 

The first meeting with the psychiatrist is about 50 minutes, with 20 minute follow ups to make sure there’s time for you to feel heard. Outside of your appointments, you have a direct line to a professional who can reach out to the psychiatrist in between appointments. We understand having a team to support you is crucial. That’s why I focus on making sure people have the support they need during their care journey.

For example, I’ve seen an individual who had tried many medications and didn’t have the time with his psychiatrist to truly understand what he was taking. When we started working together, he told me that he wanted to stop taking medications altogether.

Thankfully, I was available to discuss the dangers of stopping his medications early, and work with his psychiatrist to discuss his treatment. If I had not been able to hear his story, he may have experienced complications from abruptly stopping medications, making recovery unlikely.

As a Care Coordinator, I understand that recovering from depression and anxiety is a rough road.

But it doesn’t have to be. We believe in empowering our clients by working closely with them and their psychiatrists. And as a result, people experience many benefits — they’re able to make more confident decisions about their care and take control of their mental health — that results in better outcomes and faster recoveries. By empowering individuals with on-demand support, we’re able to make sure their mental healthcare is the best it can possibly be.

Author

  • Megan received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and has a BA in Psychology from CSU Long Beach. Megan is also registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences as an Associate Clinical Social Worker. Her years of experience in the field of mental health have included work in educational settings, group settings, and individual settings. She is passionate about helping people to become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

By Megan Fox

Megan received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and has a BA in Psychology from CSU Long Beach. Megan is also registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences as an Associate Clinical Social Worker. Her years of experience in the field of mental health have included work in educational settings, group settings, and individual settings. She is passionate about helping people to become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

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