Mental Health Matters: Psychologists in Primary Care

Posted by Dr. Sayra González Huertas on Feb 19, 2021 3:23:53 PM

 

How are you feeling?
We recently closed the book on an incredibly challenging year, and many of us are still catching our breath. If the thought of scrolling through your feed and seeing one more piece of bad news is almost too overwhelming, you are not alone.

In the past year, the boundaries which separated the different areas of our lives blurred or seemed to disappear. We took on a variety of roles as some of us became teachers, made-to-order cooks, and household managers on top of our usual work and family responsibilities. We honed the art of multitasking. We bought masks, scoured medical blogs, and watched the news relentlessly. We took great measures to protect and nurture our physical health.

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As weeks became months, many of us began to feel the emotional toll of a very atypical time that included the double punch of a global pandemic and a divisive election, both on the island and the United States. Almost out of necessity, many of our conversations moved from the merely superficial to a different level of openness as we acknowledged the cumulative psychological effect of what we have experienced. It has become clear that mental health has to a be a priority if we want to make it through to the next chapter of our story and thrive.

We Need to Talk About Mental Health

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experienced a mental health disorder in the past year, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
A study published by the Center for Disease Control in August 2020 found that 41% of American adults reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or stressor-related disorder in June alone.

We also know that mental health and physical health are intimately related. Research shows us that conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic pain often have a psychosocial component. Incredibly, there is still a stigma surrounding getting help for mental health.

Your mental health should be treated like your physical health - addressed with the help of a dedicated professional, and treated not as something you caused, but something you need to care for. There is no shame in experiencing depression, anxiety, or any mental condition. There is no shame in realizing that you might be stuck in unhelpful patterns that have led you to make decisions that have not been in your best interest. On the contrary, there is freedom in letting yourself be seen and accepting that you need support. Help is available and you should not be afraid to seek it.


Integrating Mental Health into
Your Wellness Plant  

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The majority of people with psychosocial concerns will initially seek help from their primary care physician. Caring for your emotional health plays an important part in helping you reach your optimal level of wellness.

Mental health is important because it can help you to:
● Cope with the stresses of life
● Be physically healthy
● Have good relationships
● Make meaningful contributions to your community
● Work productively
● Realize your full potential

At Pravan Health we now have a dedicated clinical psychologist on staff to help you meet these goals. Our psychologist is collaborating with our physicians to ensure a holistic approach to your health management.

Using evidence-based practices, they can help you learn strategies to manage chronic health conditions and adjust to the emotional impact of situational stress. In addition, our psychologist can provide emotional support to help you be successful in managing your health, use screening tools to detect mental health conditions early, and refer you to other psychologists and psychiatrists through our local Mental Health Specialists Network.!


A Holistic Approach

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Everyone’s wellness journey is different. We believe the most effective approach will integrate the best available research evidence with clinical expertise, while always respecting your values, culture, and preferences.

Connecting with the care that is right for you is important, and one-size-fits-all is not the solution. Treatment should be personalized to fit your needs, and provided by highly capable, truly caring professionals. The integration of a clinical psychologist to our team provides an additional dimension to your wellness journey. Remember, asking for help is an act of bravery. Let’s be brave together.


 

About the author
Dr. Sayra González is a licensed clinical psychologist, educator, and consultant who recently joined the Pravan Health team.

In private practice, she works with individuals, couples, and families struggling with inner conflicts such as depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma with the goal of supporting them towards leading healthier, more authentic and fulfilling lives. Dr. González holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Carlos Albizu University and is completing a certification in couples therapy from The Gottman Institute.

References:

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
  2. Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al.Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report 2020;69:1049–1057.

 

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Topics: mental health, health, proactive health, primary care

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