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Behavioral Health Specialists Offer Support in BCH Clinics

Behavioral Health Specialists Offer Support in BCH Clinics

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.