Stories From Our Partners

Case Study

by Emily Feinberg, ScD, CPNP | Director, Emerging Projects

Lena’s father was shocked to learn that his 13-year-old daughter had been cutting herself. He and his wife were attentive to her needs and worked hard to provide a good life for her. What had gone wrong?

It was during a visit to DotHouse Health, a federally qualified health center in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where Lena had received her primary care since she was a baby, that her nurse practitioner gave her a routine screening questionnaire for common mental health and mood disorders. Lena’s responses revealed that she had been experiencing some depressive and anxiety symptoms, and she was cutting herself to deal with them.

Lena and her family were fortunate to have a medical home that integrates both mental and physical health. That same day, Lena’s nurse practitioner introduced her to a behavioral health clinician and community health worker located on-site who worked to understand her situation and put a supportive care plan in place. The community health worker, who spoke Lena’s father’s native language, Vietnamese, provided essential background on adolescent development and mental health concerns and assured him that he and his wife were not to blame for Lena’s troubles.

Lena had a whole team who, working together, provided care during her visit and collaboratively set goals that were respectful of her family’s culture and values.

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