Despite many challenges in health care at the national and state levels,
Boulder Community Health (BCH) provides our community with a range of
exceptional mental health care services, which is made possible due to
BCH’s independence and local governance.
As our community’s demand for mental health care increases, so does
BCH's commitment to evolving and extending these crucial services.
That's why we offer the broadest and deepest range of behavioral health
services in Boulder County. Along with inpatient and outpatient services,
BCH’s Integrated Behavioral Health team is working to make it easier
for primary care clinic patients to get the help they need.
In Colorado, nearly 14% of adults report poor mental health, according
to the Colorado Health Foundation. A report in the
Denver Post stated that each year in Colorado, about 260,000 adults and children need
treatment for the most severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia,
bipolar disorder, major depression and serious emotional disturbances.
Since 2018, Behavioral Health Specialists (Licensed Clinical Social Workers)
are available on-site in all BCH primary care clinics, making early intervention
and access to treatment easier for patients that may need support for
issues such as depression and anxiety. The philosophy behind this approach
is that addressing a patient’s emotional health goes hand-in-hand
with caring for their physical health.
All patients age 12 and older who come to a BCH primary care clinic receive
routine mental health screenings. Those who need it are then offered a
conversation with a Behavioral Health Specialist. The Behavioral Health
Specialists in primary care clinics help patients address their “whole
health,” typically focusing on the early to moderate stages of depression,
anxiety, insomnia and substance use disorders. Patients are not billed
for a separate visit when they meet with a mental health counselor. They
also offer, when appropriate, a longer-term treatment program (Collaborative
Care Management) in conjunction with the primary care provider and a psychiatric
consultant that is billed as a primary care service.
By integrating mental health care into the primary care clinics, there
is a direct introduction from physicians to mental health specialists.
BCH hopes that early intervention with mental health issues can help those
in our community who may need mental health care recognize and address
these issues before they get worse.