What’s Going Around: Mental and behavioral health

Family medicine physicians are seeing a dramatic uptick in patients seeking mental and behavioral services.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:59 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Between finances, family, work, and our health, there is a lot to stress about these days and it could be impacting your mental health.

“I’ve been seeing recent uptick in just discussions regarding mental health, mainly focusing on anxiety and depression,” said Cindy Griessel, a Physician Assistant at Mercy. “I feel like post-COVID, we’re coming out of that season a bit and then, of course, we’re heading into the holiday season and so I feel like there’s just a desire for patients to mentally get healthy.”

During a season when Griessel usually sees patients for the flu, colds, and viruses, she said 50 percent of the patients she sees are coming in for mental health issues. However, Griessel said there are several different avenues for treatment.

“What I tell my patients, and often my students that rotate with me is, there’s really three options that you have when you come to seek mental health services from your medical provider,” said Griessel. “Number one, if medication is an option, and we feel that that’s a good choice, there is certainly that option. The second option is some sort of behavioral therapy and then the third option is doing nothing and then just kind of waiting and watching at that point.”

Mental health has long been an area where the medical industry has struggled to meet the demand.

“I will tell you that wait at Mercy previously was about six to nine months to see a behavioral health specialist,” said Griessel.

Griessel said Mercy is launching a new service to reach patients more quickly.

“So the patient can log in from home, they can do it from an iPad, a telephone, a computer and the beauty of Concert health is is that they are making contact with patients within a day or two of the referral,” said Griessel.

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