DSHS Going for "Holistic" Approach on Mental Health Care - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DSHS Going for "Holistic" Approach on Mental Health Care

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Pasco, WA- The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has begun hearings it hopes will improve mental health care.

Today's meeting at Columbia Basin College is the first of several across the state.

Social workers are trying to improve coordination between doctors of patients with chronic illnesses who also have mental health issues. DSHS Division Director Mary Anne Lindeblad says that includes chemical dependency and substance abuse.

"So if a person has mental health issues they're working with a primary care provider and a mental health provider in a more coordinated fashion," Lindeblad says, "so we're delivering health care in a more holistic fashion for folks."

The division director says primary care providers working with mental health care providers is currently the exception rather than the norm.

Social workers will take the information from these meetings to recommend changes to the current health care system, which may include proposing legislation.