The article below is part of an educational series to help the community
better understand Behavioral Health Services (BHS) available to them in
There are many misconceptions around seeking and staying in mental health
treatment. If you have a broken arm one would expect to find a service
that can treat that particular issue. Once the arm is set, there are follow-up
appointments to make sure that infection does not set in and that the
arm is healing properly. If the person with the broken arm goes to the
Emergency Department to get it set, but does not follow up to make sure things are healing
correctly and then ends up with a bad infection or the arm heals in an
abnormal way, who is responsible?
In mental health there are rules we try to follow. To name three:
- If a person has a substance abuse issue, they need to seek treatment on
their own. It has been shown on many occasions that a person forced by
family and friends into treatment rarely succeeds (In fact, the average
number of relapses is seven).
- If a person in treatment for mental health issues does not show for appointments
or does not give proper notice for missing appointments, they need to
be discharged from care.
- And finally, people need to pay something for their care.
There are many reasons for these rules and I want to go through a few of
the key points below:
The self-realization that one needs help with a substance abuse issue always
is the best case scenario. It prompts motivation. The only other acceptable way this can happen is
through the courts and even that has a lower success rate than self-realization.
Accessing mental health treatment is a first step. It is like finally going to a doctor after finding a lump. Seeing treatment
through is much more challenging and being responsible with your communication
(24-hour notice for a missed appointment) is the second and third thing
that a vested person must do to support their own efforts in getting well.
Behavioral Health professionals cannot and should not believe that they
are fixing people. People fix themselves with the aid of a professional.
No-call and no-shows erode the resources of the mental health professional
and prevent others who truly want the help from getting it. Here is a typical situation: someone calls in after finally deciding they
need help. They are told that the next available appointment is three
weeks away. Reluctantly, they take that appointment. The next day someone
who had an appointment no-calls no-shows and the professional sits there
alone. One might say that we could call those that are scheduled out further
and find someone that wants to get in sooner. We do that. But, and this
is real, people have lives and they plan things around their appointments.
Not often do we find patients, that once scheduled, want to change. If
you are not vested or responsible with your care, what are we to do? I
ask that you think about that. 24-hour notice is not asking too much.
It has been shown in many studies that people who pay for something find
more value in it. We have numerous ways to pay a bill at BHS. We offer everyone that walks
through the door a sliding fee scale. People who are the most strapped
and those who have resources all can get the same quality care.
Jeff Rice is the director of
Behavioral Health Services at Campbell County Memorial Hospital. BHS provides professional mental
health and substance abuse services to the community through prevention,
education, advocacy and treatment for all ages in the community. Appointments
are available Monday–Friday from 8 am–5 pm. Call 307.688.5000.
Learn more at