Employee, student clinics incorporate mental health into primary care

Health care providers in the Employee Health & Wellness Center and the Student Health & Wellness Center at UT Health San Antonio have integrated a mental health component into their primary care services.

“In primary care we deal with managing the entire patient’s care,” said Heidi Worabo, DNP, RN, assistant professor in the School of Nursing. She works as a family nurse practitioner in the employee clinic.

“In particular,” said Dr. Worabo, “mental health has really come to the forefront in the past decade or so. For example, if we’re seeing someone with diabetes and they’re depressed, they’re not going to have much motivation to get their diabetes under control or take their medicine every day. So we have to address the depression as well.”

She said that two nursing faculty members with expertise in behavioral and mental health issues–Mark Soucy, Ph.D., RN, and Gail Williams, Ph.D., RN–work part-time at the clinics and are available to consult as well.

“There are not a whole lot of primary care clinics that are incorporating mental health providers in their practice,” Dr. Worabo said. “So, mental health in primary care is something that a lot of people see a need for, but to make that actually happen is another thing.”

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