The Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health Program (MCBHP) began in 2005 in response to the high prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders among Montgomery Cares patients. The PCC’s behavioral health staff is composed of bilingual care managers—licensed mental health professionals or RNs with mental health training, family support workers, and part-time consulting psychiatrists. These care teams are embedded at safety-net primary care clinics. Their role is to partner with primary care providers and clinics to identify, diagnose, and treat patients with common behavioral health diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The behavioral health staff also screens for and works with people who are struggling with substance abuse, domestic violence, and severe mental illness. Treatment for these diagnoses may not occur in the primary care setting, but the MCBHP staff work with patients to connect them to services.
Born in El Salvador, Mirian has lived in Montgomery County for three years. Like so many members of our community fleeing violence in Central America, Mirian developed psychological problems from her experience. Mirian realized she needed to get help and reached out to a psychologist. Unfortunately this person was a fraud and tried to take advantage of her. After that experience, Mirian was wary of getting treatment. But when she told her primary care provider about her experience trying to get behavioral health services she was referred to the Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health Program.
Because the services were delivered in her primary care clinic, Mirian felt she could trust the behavioral health care manager.
She received medication for anxiety, counseling and information about mental health. The therapy and medication enabled her to concentrate more and her anxiety decreased. Since receiving help she has been able to get her work permit, her own apartment, stable employment, and is doing much better.
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