Blog

The Challenges of Helping Those with Behavioral Health Issues

“Access to behavioral services in our community is a significant issue,” Door County Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, Barb Johnson-Giese, said. “In Door County, the ratio of population to mental health providers is 715:1. The ratio in the state of WI is currently 440:1, which ranks 34th in the nation.”

Door County Behavioral Health ServicesAn unfortunate reality for medical professionals in the Door County community and beyond is that physicians are increasingly pressured to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral health problems that they are often not adequately trained to diagnose or treat. The reason for this discrepancy is that as many as 70% of primary care visits are driven by patients’ psychological problems, such as anxiety, panic, depression, and stress. Furthermore, more than 80% of patients with medically unexplained symptoms receive psychosocial treatment in primary care by a physician—and yet, only about 10% will follow up on a referral to a mental health provider that is not conveniently located.

Providing high-quality behavioral health treatment is something medical centers across the country struggle with. Fortunately for Door County residents, Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has been quick to identify the array of challenges that oftentimes leave patients and practitioners alike distraught.

“The lack of mental health providers was identified as the #1 need in Door County, as 20 percent of the population in the U.S. experiences some type of mental health problems during a one-year period,” Johnson-Giese added. “In addition, mental health problems lead to increases in other chronic health conditions, and it’s paramount to treat the whole person.”

With this information in mind, DCMC has taken the initiative to provide services to address the needs of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit alike. 

Why DCMC Cares About Behavioral Healthcare

For many years, medical professionals, both in our community and beyond, have understood that the health of the mind and the body are tightly connected, but as we consider many of the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for high-quality accessible behavioral healthcare is becoming increasingly clear. 

“Anxiety and depressive disorders have significantly increased as a result of COVID-19 and its impact on us,” Johnson-Giese said.

DCMC Behavioral Health Counseling ServicesThe truth is that at some time in their lives, virtually everyone can benefit from behavioral health services due to changes in their health, relationships, or family dynamics. That’s why DCMC established the Behavioral Health Program–to help support the mental health needs of our community. Now more than ever, it’s important to increase the awareness of behavioral healthcare and decrease the commonly associated stigma.

For a plurality of reasons, in as many as 70% of individuals with depression, their depression goes undetected in primary care. Of individuals who die by suicide, about 90% had a mental disorder, and 40% had visited their primary care physician within the month before their suicide. Thus, primary care is a crucially important setting for detecting, treating, and managing mental and behavioral health problems. 

“The good news,” according to Johson-Giese, “is it appears there has been a decrease in the stigma surrounding the importance of addressing mental health concerns, and the ability to provide virtual services has expanded, including some insurers’ coverage for telehealth services.”

DCMC Behavioral and Mental Health ServicesThe truth, simply stated, is this: Door County Medical Center cares about your mental well-being because it is a vitally important–though often overlooked–part of your overall health. Co-occurring mental disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression) can worsen the course of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, cancer, and more. Psychological distress has also been found to weaken the immune system. These truths are at the core of why DCMC is determined to fight the stigma surrounding behavioral healthcare. Whether many know it or not, our community depends upon these services.

It’s unsettling to consider the implications for the Door community in the face of another fact: the risk of suicide is higher in rural areas. Door County has a suicide rate of 14.9 per 100,000, and the state of Wisconsin has a suicide rate of 14.54 per 100,000. Comparing these numbers to the national rate of 13.48 per 100,000 is cause for concern to say the least. Furthermore, although older adults comprise just 12% of the nation’s population, they account for almost 20% of suicides, according to the National Council on Aging

Now more than ever, expanding Behavioral Health services is of the utmost importance.

The Breadth of Services Provided by DCMC

Right now, Door County Medical Center offers three service lines, depending on the individual needs of any given patient. Each and every service is provided in comfort and privacy at DCMC. Our providers work hard to help patients identify which services will best help them on their journey to improved behavioral health and wellness.

Door County Medical Center’s first behavioral health service line includes psychotherapy services, focused on addressing all mental health concerns including but not limited to: depression, mood issues, stress management, anxiety, family & personal relationships, parenting concerns, work-related stress or conflicts, grief & loss, abuse or other types of trauma, and emotional issues related to health & medical concerns.

The second service line includes behavioral health psychiatric services such as mental health needs that may benefit from medication, addressing all mental health concerns & diagnoses, and self or other referrals (not limited to Door County Medical Center patients).

The third service line includes Senior Life Solutions, which aims to address some of the problematic changes that aging brings about, including anxiety, changes in appetite, depression, difficulty sleeping, and more. 

For more information, contact Behavioral Health at 920-746-0510.

Click here to download Door County Mental Health & Crisis Prevention Resource Guide 

An Increase in Volume Demands a Capacity Increase

For many, the lessons obtained during the COVID-19 pandemic have offered a new awareness of the importance of behavioral healthcare, something providers at Door County Medical Center experience firsthand on a daily basis.

As a result of the huge increase in patient volume that has been observed in recent years, DCMC is working hard to increase its patient capacity. For context, about 20% of American adults are currently experiencing a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million people. In Wisconsin, 20.19% of adults–just over 900,000–are currently experiencing some form of mental illness. These numbers reflect a growing trend since March of 2020. For providers, this is like fighting an uphill battle.

UW Safe AllyFortunately, Door County Medical Center team works hard to stay ahead of the curve. Recently, 5 of DCMC’s behavioral healthcare providers attended training for LGBTQ+ and are now designated as Safe Allies through the UWGB Pride Center's Safe Ally Training program. This is just one of the examples of the ways DCMC staff are working to expand their services in the face of rapidly increasing patient volume.

Wisconsinites and Americans alike are coming to terms with the importance of receiving high-quality behavioral healthcare, and it is of the utmost importance to the Door County Medical Center team that all patient needs be met. A complex array of problems weighs on the minds of our community members today. Whether one’s concerns relate to economic factors or health issues, political matters such as gun violence or impending global conflicts, or the ramifications of the usage of expanding technologies like social media, the anxieties and stressors many of our community members carry have a statistically significant impact on the quality of their health, and as a result, the quality of their life.

Behavioral Health and Mental Health Counseling Door CountyThere is a need–both in our community and beyond–to shorten the waitlist for behavioral health services. The DCMC team is driven to make these services more accessible and to meet the needs of the community. There are a number of ways individuals can help. 

“Donations and sharing of stories help to decrease the myths, stereotypes, and stigma related to seeking behavioral health services,” Johnson-Giese said. “The more discussion, accurate information, and funding occur regarding the importance of treating all aspects of our health, the more willing our community members will be to address the need and lack of access to these services.” 

Door County Medical Center is currently accepting donations that will be allocated to support the expansion of DCMC Behavioral Health Services. Contact the DCMC Foundation to learn more.

Additionally, DCMC is also looking for people to share their stories. If you would be willing to share your experience, please send us a direct message through the DCMC Facebook page.

Search our blog

Popular Tags

3D Mammography   75   75th   acid reflux   addiction   adrc   advance directive   Affective   alcohol   Algoma   Algoma Community Wellness Center   als   alzheimer's disease   Ambassador   American College of Healthcare Executives   Angel Ball   anniversary   antibody treatment   anti-bullying   apnea   art   art for health   art gallery   arthritis   athlete   athletic edge camp   athletic trainer   Auxiliary   award   awards   Awareness   back   behavioral health   bone marrow transplant   Bravo   Breast Cancer Awareness Month   breast cancer prevention   breastfeeding   Brian   brussels sprout slaw   Burkitt Leukemia   C.H.I.P.   cancer   cardiac   cardiopulmonary services   catholic   catholic sisters   Celebrate Community   celebration   center   Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services   ceremony   certification   childcare   children   cold flu prevention   colon cancer   colonoscopy   community   community health   Community outreach   Coronavirus   COVID 19   COVID-19 booster   COVID-19 vaccine   critical access hospital   CT scanner   cyberbullying   da Vinci robot   da Vinci Surgical System   Daylight Savings Time   DCMC   DCMC Auxiliary   DCMC staff   dementia   dental clinic   dentist   depot   depression   diabetes   diagnostic imaging   Diana Wallace   diet   Disorder   dogs   Domestic Violence Awareness   donate   donor   Door County   Door County CARES   door county half marathon   Door County Meals Cooperative   door county schools   Door County Triathlon   Door County YMCA   Door Healthy Weight Center   Door Orthopedic Center   Dr. Daniel Tomaszewski   Dr. Elizabeth Gaida   Dr. Mark Jordan   Dr. Michael St. Jean   Dr. Reisner   Dr. Rory Johnson   Dr. Shaun Melarvie   drive-through clinic   e-cigs   economic impact   economy   Edge 3D   Education   emergency department   employee art   employment   environment   environmental stewardship   exercise   fair   Family   family medicine   family practice   farmer's market   first responders   fitness   five   five star hospital   Florence Nightingale   Foundation   fundraiser   gallery   gardening   Gerald   GERD   gynecological procedures   handwashing   happy holidays   head   health   health tips   healthcare   healthcare leader   healthcare leaders   healthy eating   heart   heart healthy   heart-attack   heartburn   Heartburn and Reflux Center   Help Our Heroes   hernia   hernia screening   hip replacement   history   HOPELINE   hospice   hospital   House and Garden Walk   HPV   Human Kindness Project   immunization   infant   insomnia   internships   job   jody boes   joint replacement   June   kelsie ladick   kids   Kids' health   kim   knee replacement   LEAP   lice   life   LifeAssist   living will   luke spude   lyme disease   mammography   marinara sauce   medical services   medication   memory   memory clinic   memory loss   men's health   men's health month   mental health   mental illness   milk   ministry   ministry fund   mission and values   MRI   National Donate Life Month   national heath decisions day   national hospital week   National Nurses Week   National Organ Donation Day   National Women’s History Month   navigator   New Year   newborn   news   non-profits   North Shore Medical Clinic   novel coronavirus   nurse   nursing   nursing program   nutrition   nwtc   obesity   OB-GYN   OPSU   organ   organ donor   orthopedics   outpatient surgery   outreach   patient   patient care   Patti Balestrieri   Paula Hobart   pelvic health   pets   physical activity   physical therapy   post exercise tips   PRC   Prevea   prevention   primary care   Providers   race   recipe   recovery   reflux   rehab services   resolutions   robotic surgery   rotator cuff repair   running   rural   rural healthcare   SAAM   SAD   scholarship   scholarships   school   School Nursing   Seasonal   senior life solutions   senior therapy   Seniors   services   sexual assault   Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner   Shop and Dine Day   Sister Bay   skilled nursing   skilled nursing facility   skin cancer   Sleep   sleep disorder   sleep lab   smoking   snf   social justice   specialty providers   sports   sports medicine   sports training   St. Francis   star   state-of-the-art   Stephens   stroke patients   studer group   suicide awareness   suicide awareness month   suicide prevention   summer   summer programs   sun care   surgery   sweet dreams   swiggum   technology   Teen health   Teens   telemedicine   teleNICU   telepediatrics   The Angel Ball   The Community's Garden   The Healing Project   ticks   tissue donor   to   training tips   Treatment   triathlon   urgent care   vaccination   vaccinations   vaccine   vaping   virtual appontments   virtual visit   volunteers   wall   Washington Island   wellness   Wendy Ulrikson   women's center   women's health   work injuries   world breastfeeding week   Worrick   years   YMCA   youth workshops