News & Spotlights

Connecting Mind and Body: Why We Integrate Behavioral Health Care

February 23rd, 2018
HealthPoint Programs & Staff

Connecting Mind and Body: Why We Integrate Behavioral Health Care


At HealthPoint we strive to provide high quality care to all of our patients. This care includes not just primary medical and dental, but also naturopathic and behavioral health services as well. You might wonder: why offer behavioral health in house -- wouldn't it be easier to refer patients to other organizations?

The case for in-house, integrated behavioral health care is clear when you consider these statistics:

  • In the United States, 59% of people with mental health or substance abuse issues are receiving no care.
    • However, the majority of these same people have had at least one visit with their primary care provider in the last year.
  • Research shows that more than half of primary care patients have psychiatric comorbidities.

Outside referrals are a useful tool, but the reality is they often create new barriers to care; it’s one more hoop to jump through to get the services you need.  HealthPoint is not about hoops. We’re about breaking down barriers to care. So, fifteen years ago we asked ourselves: Can integrating behavioral health services address these statistics and help us better care for our patients?  Then, and even more so today, we believe the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

What’s Unique About This Model?

The Primary Care Behavioral Health Consultation Model allows for primary care providers and behavioral health consultants to collaborate and tackle comorbid issues together.  At HealthPoint, Behavioral Health Consultants provide mental health expertise to the Care Team and same day mental health visits to patients. The Care Team collaborates to address health issues such as chronic illnesses, psychiatric disorders, stress management, substance abuse, and sexual health.

For HealthPoint Bothell BHC, Melissa Baker, what makes our program special is that “it’s fully and truly integrated. It’s not separate or seen as something that only certain populations can access, it’s for everyone. We do the same things as the medical team: meet the needs of the population where they’re at.” Integrating services allows us to provide immediate access to support in dealing with those issues.  Finally, to ensure the benefits of convenient, real-time behavioral health care are accessible to ALL, we provide interpretation services for over 56 languages.

Why It Works and What It Has Done

Our approach to behavioral health improves patient care, is convenient for our patients, improves clinical outcomes, reduces healthcare costs, and has led to a higher patient retention rate.  When behavioral health consultants collaborate with primary care providers to treat patients with psychiatric comorbidities, the results are more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment plans for our patients. Simply put, because of this integrative model, we are able to provide more holistic care for our patients and get them the help and resources they need faster –often when it matters most. One example of this can be seen at our School Based Clinics. In the last nine months, our School Care Teams have worked together to provide 23 suicide interventions to students at the three schools we serve. In situations like these, referrals aren’t effective; it’s essential that patients have immediate access to mental health services and we are grateful our staff it here to provide it.

Learn More:

  • Current patients:  Would you like to meet with a Behavioral Health Consultant?  Call your medical clinic and ask to schedule an appointment– no referral needed.
  • Psychology students: Learn more about our internship and pre-internship opportunities on our website.

Curious about the other ways that HealthPoint breaks down barriers to GREAT CARE? Stay tuned to the HealthPoint blog!  I’m writing a series of posts that focus on the HealthPoint people and programs that help our communities stay healthy and strong.