Position: Mental Health Resources Coordinator
What does your position do?
One of my duties is to educate patients of the Mental Health Clinic, a subset of the WCCC, on affordable sources of psychotherapy throughout the city. I am available to help guide them through the process of contacting a clinic and setting up an appointment, as it is not an easy one.
Most of my time is spent working with the Depression Screen. The Depression Screen was implemented earlier this year by the previous Mental Health Resources Coordinator and serves to identify which patients of the WCCC may have Major Depressive Disorder. This is especially important because the patients of the WCCC come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and therefore have high risk of developing mood disorders. The earlier we can identify who might be suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, the faster we can implement a treatment plan and improve the patient’s quality of life.
What motivated you to get involved with the clinic?
After entering Weill and learning more about the WCCC, it sounded like it was the perfect fit for me: I could help out those who need it most while developing my clinical skills in a judgement-free setting. I wasn’t sure how true this was, so I signed up for a Junior Clinician shift. I remember during my first visit to the clinic the older medical students and the attending physician were extremely kind and willing to help me learn, even though I barely knew anything about medicine. The medical student helped perfect my newly-learned vital signs skills, and the attending asked for my input on the patient’s well-being. The patient left that visit much less scared and much more hopeful for the future, and I felt great having helped this one individual – but I wanted to do more.
In college, I developed a keen interest in neuroscience, and was specifically drawn towards the scientific basis behind psychiatric disorders. Growing up I had seen first-hand how anxiety and PTSD had afflicted my mother and brother, but I sought to grasp the underpinnings of these conditions. I learned extensively about the social and environmental contributions to mental health, but wanted to learn more. Given all of this, serving as the Mental Health Resources Coordinator on the Junior Board seemed like the perfect fit for me.
What do you enjoy about your position?
My favorite aspect of the position is meeting the patients of the Mental Health Clinic. When at clinic, I get to meet many of the patients and hear them share their life stories. Within the span of the past couple months, I have already begun seeing some of the same patients for a second or third time. I get to see how they are doing and whether they have improved from the last time, which is always exciting for me. They often remember me, too, which I hope makes them feel more comfortable when visiting us.
In addition, the Mental Health Resources Coordinator is one of the newer positions on the Junior Board. So, the duties and roles of the position have not been completely determined. This means there is a lot of flexibility for me—I have already come up with several new ideas to potentially implement over the course of the next year.
How would you like to move the clinic forward?
One of my ideas is to allow patients of the Mental Health Clinic to participate in the Continuity of Care (CoC) program. There are many patients who visit the clinic regularly, and after working with these patients, I am confident that a paired student could learn a tremendous amount about the impact of mental health disorders on overall well-being and the contribution of socioeconomic status to mental health. In addition, through a CoC pairing, patients might not only feel more comfortable attending their appointments but might also feel a greater sense of support from the medical system.
We are also beginning to work on various analyses of the Depression Screen, including how effective it has been. This will help us in perfecting the execution of the Depression Screen such as how often is best to screen.