Cedar City Clinic recognized for groundbreaking mental health integration model

Staff of Cedar City Clinic receive the "Mental Health Integration Award" for their work in mental health screening, Cedar City, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Cedar City Clinic, Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The Cedar City Clinic was recently presented the “Mental Health Integration Award” at the National Mental Health Symposium for identifying and proactively addressing the mental health needs of its patients.

Stock image, St. George News

The clinic, located inside Cedar City Hospital, was presented the award for developing the “mental health integration model.” The model utilizes all providers, nurses and support staff who then coordinate with Charity Brannon, the patient’s first point of contact.

Brannon, who serves as the hospital’s mental health coordinator, also helps to ensure that all patients are screened using a mental health questionnaire, a process similar to screening a patient’s physical health.

Screening for mental health issues allows for the treatment of the “total health” of a patient and is is “a very important shift that is happening in health care” Matt Denhalter, a licensed clinical social worker, said in a press release issued by the clinic.

“Instead of just addressing the one thing a patient came in for that day, we are taking care of the entire patient and their health need,” Denhalter said.

One population that benefits from this approach is patients with diabetes who also have secondary depression. Patients who think depression is supposed to be an intense type of sadness may report to their doctor that they just “don’t feel well” in a physical sense, when in actuality they are suffering from a mental health crisis.

Denhalter said patients are typically surprised to learn the physical discomfort doesn’t come from their diabetes, but instead is the result of depression that has to be diagnosed and treated the same as any other ailment.

“With this mental health integration model, their provider helps treat and manage their diabetes, and then we help treat the depression that is accompanying it,” Denhalter said. “By doing that, it makes the total health of the patient possible.”

Stock image, St. George News

The clinic’s questionnaire can help caregivers determine the likelihood of a mental health concern that may need to be addressed.

Utilizing the questionnaire also helps diagnose and treat problems like suicidal thoughts and anxiety. It can also be helpful in managing the mental health of someone who is dealing with a loved one’s physical or mental health challenges.

Working together with the patient and caregiver to determine mental health needs assists in procuring resources within the community or at Cedar City Clinic itself.

“Our Care Management Team at the clinic operates at a very high level because of the great communication and support we provide each other in our roles,” clinic manager Sharon Mitchell said in the press release.

To learn more about the services Cedar City Clinic provides or the mental health integration model, call 435-868-5522.

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