The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Mental health services are essential to health care offerings

Dear Editor,
I am now retired but was a practicing clinical social worker for 30 years. Regarding what services should be included in Green Mountain Care, mental health services are an essential part. These services should be encouraged because they not only increase emotional health but they also foster physical health: mental health issues are often are the seeds of bad self care and chronic illnesses, as well as affecting others.

Just imagine the infant whose mother has a post partum depression. Being proactive about treating the mother significantly effects the development of the infant and the whole family.

In addition, starting from the point of diagnosis of significant physical health problems, for instance cancer, many people need mental health treatment to cope, follow through on treatment and make recommended life changes. Collaboration between primary care physicians and psychotherapists is necessary and should make this a priority rather than an afterthought.

Also in the current system insurance often has high co-pays that create a big barrier especially for mental health visits that may occur weekly for a period of time. Our new system has the potential to be much better than the one we now have.

Of course the need for mental health care within Green Mountain Care should not exclude other types of care such as dental and vision care. It's all interconnected and necessary.

Cathy Thomas, Mt. Tabor, Vt.

Tagged: Letter to the Editor, healthcare, mental health