Introducing Mental and Behavioral Health Care into Primary Care Practices for Obesity and Weight Related illnesses

Integrated Care

There are significant challenges to implementing integrated care and meeting both state and federal mandates. Challenges include organization size, resource availability, provider willingness, patient participation, and economic support. These factors were taken into consideration by the BreakThrough! team in the development of high quality, low-cost courses designed specifically to help clients to recognize and recover from the mental health disorders that lead to emotional eating and the onset of health problems.

Organization size. In order to integrate any program into an existing organization there are practical considerations that must address size, support, and structure. A program has to be standardized, easy to manage, and scalable. Other factors include cost containment and effectively serving rural and under-served communities. To meet these challenges the BreakThrough! course is designed to be flexible.
  • Self-directed – client reads & completes course workbook on their own
  • Structured online course – client-paced with certificate of completion (20 hours)
  • Practitioner led – in person or telehealth (client workbook available on Amazon)
  • Blended approach – online course with discussion/supervision (coaching)
  • In-person groups
  • On-line virtual groups
Resource availability has been a road block to integrated care initiatives. This is certainly the case for mental health support. Demand for individual mental health care far exceeds practitioner availability. Offering weekly group support – in person or online may be more readily implementing with the BreakThrough! structure and resources.
Provider willingness to integrate behavioral health care with primary care treatment is improving. The challenge however is that most practitioners don’t have the time or resources to become experts in the mental health disorders that lead to emotional eating and self-sabotage. BreakThrough! helps streamline the learning process for providers, and importantly, the clients do the all of the work. Some may need referrals for counseling, but the online groups are a starting point for developing recognition and recovery skills.
Patient participation in their recovery from emotional eating begins as early as intake. It’s important however, that patients self-assess their challenges with food addiction and other mental health concerns. For that reason, every client we onboard completes the Yale Food Addiction Scale, as well as measures more specific to depression, anxiety, quality of life, and trauma if indicated.

The course introduction is gentle and informative. The goal of onboarding is aligning with where clients are at in their process of weight and health management.

In ten sessions, the BreakThrough! course addresses the following:

  1. Integrated Weight Management Therapy
  2. The Brain and Behaviors – Daily Reflection
  3. Willpower is not Enough!
  4. Addiction
  5. Depression
  6. Anxiety
  7. Complex Trauma
  8. Personality & Thought Patterns
  9. Relationships
  10. Our Environment
Economic Support

In 2018 the American Counseling Association (ACA), NBCC & NADAAC endorsed the BreakThrough! Program for Psychological Recovery from Obesity and the ACA offers a 6-hour CE seminar for professionals. The costs associated with the course and resources are nominal and covered by most insurance and EAP plans. The website and learning management system are free from any other marketing or product advertising. Our mission is to simply deliver affordable, high quality, mental health wellness resources.

Look at the Patient Experience Online Learning Experience

This link to this demo is from Session 2. Please read through the content as a patient – it’s humorous and kept as simple and straightforward as practical. In this demo, completion of the quiz questions is not required. When clients enroll in the full course, they complete 500 challenge questions as they progress through the course.

Our goal is to provide practitioners and organizations alike with resources that help their clients recover from obesity and type 2 Diabetes. If we can help you – please reach out!

Heather Hamilton PhD

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