The Jefferson Center for Mental Health has a simple philosophy to providing care — look at the whole person.
There are parts of the county that have yet to learn of the center’s approach to integrated behavioral and primary care, and so the center just opened its southernmost health home to reach residents in south Lakewood.
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The Aug. 31 fair at Jefferson Plaza Family Health Home, 3595 S. Teller St., highlighted the many resources available and introduced the new location to the community.
“At this location we’re focusing on adolescents and families,” said Shannon Gwash, director of Wellness Services. “There are a lot of health services here for patients. Like our other integrated care facilities, we have the Metro Community Provider Network and Arapahoe House to provide a range of services.”
This location has been in the works for about a year, explained Shannon Tyson-Poletti, a psychiatrist with the Jefferson Center.
“When looking at our data, we realized this was an area that has not been served as much,” she said. “In this part of town you have a lot of working poor — they’re not in the extreme poverty designation, but on the edge. There is also a fair amount of Latino and immigrant residents in the area.”
The health home focuses on preventive care and wellness throughout patients’ lives. There will be prenatal services for expecting mothers all the way through adulthood. Services include domestic violence prevention, wellness education and healthy eating classes.
“We’re here for anyone who needs a area primary care physician. Everyone is eligible,” Tyson-Poletti said. “Everyone who visits us will get some level of mental health screening, and people with serious mental health concerns will be referred to specialists with the Jefferson Center.”
The Metro Community Provider Network will be providing the family doctors, pediatrician and OB-GYN, and is aiming to provide dental health screenings sometime in 2017.
“The feedback we receive on this kind of integrated care is also so positive,” said Laura Larson, director of communications with the network. “It’s so much easier to have professionals who can address all needs in one place. It simplifies things for patients, and lessens the burden of care.”
At the wellness fair, visitors were able to have height, weight and body mass index screenings, as well as dental care screenings. Community partners like Jefferson County Libraries, the City of Lakewood and Jeffco Public Schools were all on hand to complete the circle of care.
“We know education and wellness are linked,” said Jolee Mann, a dropout prevention specialist with Jeffco Schools. “We provide resources not only to students, but their families as well, because we all know it takes a village.”
The expectation from the Jefferson Center and Metro Community Network is that Jefferson Plaza will be a busy place, and they’re eager to get out among the community members.
“We want to be a big part of the community,” Tyson-Poletti said. “Often, if you have a good impact on a person, it doesn’t show up until years from now, but that’s great.”
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