Accessing Behavioral Health Services at North Country HealthCare in a Pandemic

09/09/2020 by Sarah Pena

by lore m. dickey, PhD

Without exception, every one of us has had our lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to remain at home more than ever, engaging in work, exercise, and social time within the confines of our four walls. We have missed much quality time with the ones we love the most, some of whom have been directly impacted by the virus. Families around the world were not prepared for the ways the pandemic would change education for school-age and college students. You may never have uttered the phrase “out of an abundance of caution” prior to the pandemic. It has all become our new normal.

We have all been asked to make behavioral change. This change began with the simple re-education of how to properly wash your hands (20 seconds in case you forgot). At first, we were asked to meet in groups no larger than 50 people. Now we can meet with no more than 10 people. Finally, the most obvious behavioral change people have been asked to make is to wear a face mask in public.

Of the many things this pandemic has taught us, one primary lesson we have learned is that behavioral change can be difficult. We are creatures of habit. Making behavioral changes is of the utmost importance when your mental and physical health depend on it.

What is behavioral health?

In the medical community, “behavioral health” describes the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. This includes how our behaviors, like eating habits, drinking alcohol, exercising, and even wearing a face mask impacts our physical and mental health.

Since the pandemic, many have quickly realized they need some additional help when it comes to practicing habits to maintain well-being of their body, mind, and spirit. At North Country HealthCare, behavioral health has been a high priority for us. That’s why behavioral health consultants are part of our integrated medical team, and are available to care for patients in all 12 communities we serve.

Our behavioral health consultants are available to support individuals and families in making positive lifestyle changes to improve health and wellness. They can assist in creating plans to manage health challenges and diagnoses. They also provide short-term counseling services in areas such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Our behavioral health team can work with you to:

  • Understand the relationship between physical health and overall well-being
  • Make lifestyle changes to improve health and well-being
  • Address stress, anxiety, depression and relationship issues
  • Create a plan to achieve positive health outcomes
  • Manage health challenges and diagnoses
  • Provide referrals to outside agencies

Accessing behavioral health care at North Country HealthCare

So how can you get connected to a behavioral health consultant at your local North Country HealthCare? Start by having a conversation with your primary care provider about what behavioral changes you want to make, and ask to be referred to consultant in your clinic. For many patients, the easiest way to meet with a behaviorist is via telehealth. Patients can make an appointment with any of North Country HealthCare’s behavioral health consultants, whether or not they are in the clinic you normally access for healthcare.

Telehealth services are not for everyone. For some people, talking over electronic devices can be awkward. Additionally, if you do not have a stable internet connection, a smart phone, a tablet, or a computer, then you will not be able to connect with your provider. In that case, in-person meetings will be your best option. But please know, each of our behavioral health consultants have lots of experience with telehealth and can help you troubleshoot any problems you are having connecting to the platform.

Meet our team

North Country HealthCare’s behavioral health team includes:

As a last bit of information, you may wonder what the initials behind each person’s name stand for.

  • “LPC” stands for Licensed Professional Counselor
  • “DBH” stands for Doctorate in Behavioral Health
  • “PhD” stands for Doctorate of Philosophy
  • “LP” stands for Licensed Psychologist
  • “LMFT” stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • “LMHC” stands for Licensed Mental Health Counselor

For more information about these services, visit our behavioral health services page, or call the location nearest you to schedule an appointment.

About lore m. dickey, PhD, LP

Dr. lore dickey serves as a behavioral health consultant at North Country HealthCare’s Flagstaff 4th Street location. lore is passionate about helping his patients make sustainable, lasting improvements to live their healthiest lives. He is also especially interested in helping patients and communities become more resilient. lore has received numerous awards for his groundbreaking work on transgender healthcare, and he has been published in numerous journals and other publications on the same topic.

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