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GBMC & Sheppard Pratt Team Up to Provide Behavioral Health Services

December 4, 2017
Is it the blues or something more?

A seemingly endless supply of heartbreaking pictures of disaster victims on the news and social media. Worrying political news. The stress of balancing work and family. We all feel sad or worried sometimes, but how can you tell if those feelings are actually signs of depression or anxiety? Dr. Robin Motter-Mast, Medical Director of Primary Care at GBMC and Dr. Catherine Harrison-Restelli, a psychiatrist with the Sheppard Pratt Health System and Chair of Psychiatry at GBMC, talked with 93.1 WPOC host Michael J. about the causes, signs, and treatments for these common mental health issues that affect almost a quarter of Americans.

They also highlighted a new, innovative partnership between GBMC and Sheppard Pratt that helps people who may be dealing with these issues get immediate access to mental health providers. Here’s how that partnership works. There are now full-time behavioral health specialists in nine of GBMC’s 10 primary care practices, along with visiting Sheppard Pratt psychiatrists and substance use counselors from Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Centers. Primary care doctors ask all their patients a few simple questions to find out if they might be living with undiagnosed depression or anxiety. If so, the patient can immediately talk with one of the mental health professionals in the office.

Explains Dr. Motter-Mast, “The idea is to remove the stigma of seeking help with mental health concerns and make it easy for our patients to get access to mental health professionals. People feel more comfortable in their primary care doctor’s office, so this integrated team approach helps people get the care they need to get the right diagnosis and treatment, which can also have a positive impact on their physical health.”

Dr. Motter-Mast and Dr. Harrison-Restelli also shared their advice on how to cope with the stress of the 24-hour news cycle (turn it off, focus on the people and things you care about, and take steps to stay connected with your family and community), what to say when you think someone you care about may need help with a mental health issue, and what anxiety does to your body. “If you’re concerned that you may be depressed or anxious, talking with your primary care doctor is a good place to start,” says Dr. Harrison-Restelli. “The highs and lows make life rich, but if they’re interfering with your life, work, or relationships, it’s now easier to get help.”
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