Health Alliance stresses importance of behavioral health

RENO, NV (KOLO) May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Community Health Alliance not only provides medical care for patients, but behavioral health services. Doctors say behavioral health is often a missing piece in patient care and can help create an overall healthier lifestyle.

"In behavioral health we're really talking about some of our actions that we have. It is the way that we think and the way that we feel and how we go through our day-to-day, so think about stress management. If we don't manage it, that turns into stress and can lead to anxiety and depression and panic attacks and things like that," Patrick Rogers, Director of Behavioral Health Services, says.

Rogers says patients receive wrap-around services at Community Health Alliance. The medical professionals all use the warm hand method.

"It'll be through the interview with the doctor, you know, tell me what are you coming in here for today, and they see it's something that behavioral health can help with. We can go right into the room right with them and not have to come back, and so that process is called the warm handoff," Rogers says.

Kristyn McDougall, a nurse practitioner, says having behavior specialists on site is extremely beneficial for patients.

"It's an in-the-moment decision and it benefits in the regard that if you have a matter that presents itself during the encounter, we know that we have that immediate capability to refer our patients to the appropriate resources," she says.

Rogers says the majority of medical or lab results often come back inconclusive, which is why behavioral health services are offered make major differences in patients' lives.

"That means that things like x-rays and MRI's are coming back negative and not showing that anything is there, and so that means that about 70 percent of the presentation typically has something to do in the behavioral health realm. And 90 percent of that is going to be affected by stress management and we are physically reacting to stress we deal with on a day-to-day basis," he says.

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