Behavioral Health Program at DECH Brings Vital Services to Washington County

(left to right) Holly Stewart, PMHNP is the telemedicine behavioral health expert and Helen Deuschle, LCSW is the on-site expert at DECH. To make an appointment with Helen or Holly, call the Machias office 255-2570.

The Integrated Behavioral Health service at Down East Community is provided through a partnership with Acadia Hospital’s Integrated Behavioral Health program.  This program is consultative and designed to maximize patient and provider access to behavioral health expertise within outpatient medical practices.  We adapt an evidence-based model of collaborative care to most effectively serve the population of each individual practice, provider and patient.  As integrated providers, we are guided by principles of team based care that include shared goals, clear roles, mutual trust, and effective communication.  We collaborate with medical practices to innovate practical real-world solutions to bridge the care gap between behavioral health and medical care.  We are trained in brief, evidence based interventions.

This Integrated Behavioral Health model results in care that is consistently patient-centered, evidence-based, measureable, population-based, and accountable.  Some of the benefits of successful integration is support for managing the complex and persistent needs of patients with behavioral health, substance misuse, and co-occurring medical diagnoses.  It also helps to increase the access to whole patient care by addressing stigma, discrimination, and fragmented services.  It improves productivity of providers and improves overall patient health.  It opens channels of communication between the treatment team and the patient by integrating documentation into the primary care or medical specialty medical records.  It also supports populations at high risk for substance use or behavioral health problems that can serve as barriers to improving patient health.

More About the Providers:

Helen Deuschle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Helen received her BA from Boston University and her MSW from Simmons College School of Social Work.

Helen has joined the staff at Down East Community Hospital as part of the new Integrated Behavioral Health Team.  She has more than 30 years of experience, with eight years working at Massachusetts General Hospital.  She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, early intervention programs, and community mental health centers.  She most recently worked as Behavioral Health specialist at Island Family Medicine in Stonington, part of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital.  She has a strong interest in working with patients who have medical problems complicated by significant levels of anxiety, depression, and post-trauma.  She provides a range of therapies from insight oriented treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, bereavement, and family therapy.  She believes in helping clients build skills that they can apply directly to their lives.

Holly Stewart is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP).  Holly began her education at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and finished at the University of Southern Maine with a major degree in Biology and minor in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  After working as a chemist for a year, she went back to school to receive her BSN, MSN and Certificate in Family PMH-NP at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.  She has been practicing for almost 13 years and worked on adult and child/adolescent inpatient units, chemical dependency units, intensive outpatient units and also consultation-liaison work in Emergency Departments and other medical units.

Holly has been providing telepsychiatry services for the past eight years prior to being employed at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.  She treats patients of all ages at the Behavioral Health practice at Down East Community Hospital via telemedicine. Holly does primarily medication management but discusses the importance of other treatment modalities for mental and emotional health, as well.

A PMHNP provides a wide range of mental health services to patients and families in a variety of settings. PMHNPs diagnose, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for patients who have psychiatric disorders, medical organic brain disorders or substance abuse problems. They are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, psychosocial and physical assessment of their patients, treatment plans, and manage patient care. They may also serve as consultants or as educators for families and staff.  The PMHNP has a focus on psychiatric diagnosis, including the differential diagnosis of medical disorders with psychiatric symptoms, and on medication treatment for psychiatric disorders.