December 18, 2023

Prioritizing Mental Health as a Universal Human Right

By: Neltada Charlemagne, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PHN, BHC

Mental health significantly shapes emotional, psychological and social well-being, molding thoughts, emotions and behaviors—ultimately affecting resilience, relationships and effective problem-solving. More than 20% of US adults experience mental illness, which is defined by The World Health Organization as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to his or her community.”

It Takes a Team: Meet Anna

Anna*, a 38-year-old Home Based Medical Care patient with a history of bipolar disorder, was referred by a Longitudinal Provider to a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC) for medication management due to fluctuating mood episodes, including periods of depression and mania.

Anna had a history of medication non-adherence and had recently stopped taking her psychotropic medications independently. The BHC completed a behavioral health assessment, identified immediate behavioral health needs and educated the patient about the benefits of medication adherence and possible side effects and developed a safety plan. Anna was agreeable to resuming an antipsychotic medication to manage her symptoms.

Next, the Behavioral Health Care Manager also became involved supporting Anna in developing coping strategies to manage her specific symptoms. Through this collaborative care approach, Anna’s condition stabilized. Amid this team effort, her Nurse Care Manager played a vital role by providing regular check-in calls provided a supportive touchpoint, ensuring that Anna felt cared for and connected. With improved mood stability, she was referred to a community psychologist and psychiatrist for continued care, ensuring ongoing support for her bipolar disorder.

Anna’s journey exemplifies what a true commitment to promoting mental health through the collaborative care approach can provide for a patient. By merging medical, behavioral and emotional support, it is important to empower individuals like Anna to reclaim their lives, fostering a brighter, more resilient future.

Remember, mental health matters, and it is important to prioritize self-care and seek help when needed.


*Patient’s name and other details have been changed to ensure confidentiality.