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Reader's View: Invest in mental health, too

As a Duluth resident for the past 30 years, I am pleased to see that two of our local health systems are investing more than $1 billion into our regional health care infrastructure ("Care providers lay out grand plans," Nov. 20).

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Denfeld’s 1947 boys basketball team is the only Denfeld basketball team to win a state title. The team’s head coach was Lloyd Holm. Team members were Rudy Monson, Larry Tessier, Paul Nace, Kenneth Sunnarborg, Eugene Norlander, Howard Tucker, Tony Skull, Jerry Walczak, Bruce Budge, Keith Stolen and student manager Bob Scott.

As a Duluth resident for the past 30 years, I am pleased to see that two of our local health systems are investing more than $1 billion into our regional health care infrastructure ("Care providers lay out grand plans," Nov. 20).

As a mental health professional active in the mental health system in Minnesota, I am very interested in seeing how the expanded services will address needs in this area. Multiple community health assessments and data clearly identify mental health as a top health concern in our region. The top chronic conditions in Northeastern Minnesota are not asthma or hypertension; they are depression and anxiety. As new buildings are built, hopefully we can serve patients more holistically, and in an integrated way, locally, and in the same health care office. We shouldn't have to be sending our neighbors and family members to North Dakota to get the mental health services that could be provided in a state-of-the-art health care campus in Duluth.

Both inpatient beds and outpatient mental health services are desperately needed in our area. In addition, let's evolve to the most effective evidence-based practice of integrated behavioral health care, allowing patients to be seen in the same medical office for both physical and mental health care: one office, one team of practitioners, lower costs, better clinical outcomes, and higher patient satisfaction.

Here's to hoping that we can move away from the outdated model of segmented care for mental health and move to more comprehensive health care services that recognize the needs of the whole patient - not only for the medical needs frequently advertised on local billboards.

Dave Lee

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Duluth

Related Topics: ESSENTIA HEALTHHEALTHCARE
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