MIDDLETOWN — Kim Tracy counted her struggle with Lyme disease, a stretch of homelessness and her recovery at Newport Mental Health as monumental events in her life. Her Lyme disease symptoms started when she was 8½, she told legislators and mental health experts Tuesday morning at a press conference outside the Newport Mental Health facility at 65 Valley Road.
But she wasn’t diagnosed until years later, when she was an adult. “The pain of not being heard, not being believed” weighed heavy on Tracy, she said. She was unable to work and experienced homelessness. But she eventually received help via therapy and medication. “I came back to myself,” Tracy, who now sits on the Newport Mental Health Board of Directors, told the crowd.
The benefits of mental health care are clear, evidenced by success stories like Tracy’s. When it comes to getting behavioral health services to children, researchers out of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center recently suggested making such services more easily accessible in familiar places, like medical practices, has been shown to increase service utilization. Embedding behavioral health services within primary care facilities is a suggested, viable solution for children, but what about embedding primary care services within mental health facilities?