What is Behavioral Health

By: Becky Ela, LCSW

At DCMH's Family Medicine, West Elk clinic and Internal Medicine, we have a staff of Behavioral Health Specialists (BHS) who offer whole person-care for your body and mind.

What is Integrated Care?
Integrated Health Care is a practice that focuses on healing the whole person by helping improve physical and emotional health. This involves collaborating with your doctors and nursing staff to provide you the best care possible. Integrated care can also involve nutrition, acupuncture and pain management providers.

What is a Behavioral Health Specialist?
BHS offer assistance when habits, behaviors, stress, worry or emotional concerns about your physical health or other life problems interfere with your daily life and/or overall health. BHS are Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Professional Counselors who have training in working with patients in the medical setting.

Our BHS assist patients in developing coping skills related to chronic medical conditions. We also assist with lifestyle changes related to helping you quit using tobacco, weight loss or alcohol use. We help develop coping skills to manage emotional or behavioral difficulties such as insomnia, anger, anxiety (worry), grief and loss, depression and excessive stress.

What should I expect?
You can expect the BHS to ask you questions about symptoms and behaviors and how they are related to your physical health. The appointments are typically 30 minutes and are focused on finding solutions to what challenges you experience. Generally, there are between 3-6 visits with the BHS.

How is Behavior Health different from Mental Health services?
The services provided by our BHS are short-term with opportunities for follow-up care as needed. Referrals to other professionals may be made for ongoing traditional mental health therapy if you and the BHS feel that best meets your needs.

How do I schedule an appointment?
A referral to the BHS will be made by your doctor or Family Nurse Practitioner. Appointments are scheduled through the front desk where you are a patient. You can request to see the BHS at the same time as your appointment with your medical provider, or you can meet with the BHS at a separate appointment. At times, you can see your medical provider and the BHS for a co-visit at the same appointment.