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Mental health care starts with a first step


(Source: Tackling any task – from a child walking to an adult learning a new job – starts with a first step. The same goes for taking care of your mental and behavioral health, but even the experts admit it may be daunting to ask for help. In the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month, experts are reminding you there are resources to bridge the gap between “What do I do?” and “I have the care I need.”

Katie Koeller is a behavioral health navigator (BHN) at OSF HealthCare in Alton, Illinois. BHN is a free, ministry-wide service at OSF HealthCare, but you don’t have to be an OSF HealthCare patient to use it. The program helps people in areas like depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol use, and problems with work, school, or relationships. The BHN talks to the patient – either at a provider’s office or over the phone – about what care they need, and they point the person to that care as close to home and as soon as possible. The BHN also checks the patient’s insurance coverage to see how it lines up with the care needed.


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