What to Expect from Treatment at WellPower

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We all have mental health; some of us live with mental illness.

At WellPower, we envision a world in which everyone has the support they need to live their best lives. As the community mental health center for the people of Denver, we offer a comprehensive range of programs and services to help people address their unique needs, build upon their strengths and improve their well-being.

Wondering what this looks like in practice? Below, we outline a general overview of the progression many people go through during their time with us. Keep in mind that each person has their own journey, and no two experiences are alike.

We’ll use a fictional person named Nathan to illustrate what each part of the process often looks like for real people.

Identifying Needs

Most often, people tend to come to us either by reaching out themselves or through a referral by another healthcare provider, their insurance company, the justice system, or another community partner.

Our Access team does a brief phone screening to find out from the person what their needs are. A tool called the Recovery Needs Level (RNL) helps the team determine what level of service could be most appropriate for the person.

For some, outpatient services might be the best option to meet their needs. For others, the impact of mental illness can be so extensive that the person may be dealing with homelessness, a substance use disorder and other serious health concerns. In these cases, a higher level of services would be initiated, including intensive case management and residential 24/7 care.

Nathan experienced a traumatic event in his childhood and started having intense episodes of anxiety and social withdrawal in his early teens. In his first year of college, voices began telling him that he was not worthy of love. He began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, and lost touch with his friends and family. Several years later, he reunited with his family, who sat next to him as he called WellPower. His Access clinician identified that intensive case management and residential care would be an important starting point.

Making A Treatment Plan

After the phone screening, the next step is often an official intake appointment. The purpose of the intake is to gather more information to better understand the person’s symptoms and needs, which are used to make preliminary diagnoses.

Based on all of this information, the clinician and the person start co-creating a treatment plan comprised of any number of services to address different aspects of their needs. Most treatment plans are made up of some combination of therapy, medication and supportive services such as housing, education and job skills training, group programs, primary medical care and more. Sometimes it’s just therapy or medication; other times it’s a more comprehensive plan of wraparound services.

At his intake appointment, Nathan expressed that he hadn’t been to the doctor in several years, and that art had been meaningful for him in his teens. He and his clinician worked together to create a treatment plan consisting of residential care, case management, therapy, psychiatry, medication assisted treatment to address his substance use, primary health care and art therapy – all offered by WellPower, which reduced his need to coordinate with lots of other providers.

Ongoing Services

Most people then start appointments with different clinicians on their multidisciplinary treatment team. These professionals can include therapists with different specialties, case managers, psychiatrists, peer specialists, vocational rehabilitation specialists and others.

Each person we serve will start meeting with the different clinicians on their treatment team at whatever frequency makes most sense – weekly, biweekly, monthly or as needed. Some people start meeting more often in the beginning of their time with us and then gradually transition to meeting less frequently as they make progress through their recovery.

Everyone continues to have a unique experience with the organization based on what they’re wanting to accomplish. Over the course of a person’s time working with us, their needs might change, and sometimes dramatically – for those who start out in residential care, for example, one meaningful goal might be to regain control over the aspects of their lives that will allow them to live independently in the community.

It took some time for Nathan to get used to living in a residential program, but after a few weeks he settled in. He loved the art therapy and got along well with his care team, even making some early progress toward managing his symptoms in a healthy way. Nathan was surprised when his case manager even offered to drive him from his residence to his appointments at other locations, and that WellPower’s pharmacy team made sure his medications were delivered to his door, even in the middle of a snowstorm.

Wrapping Up

Our goal as an organization is to help people improve their well-being, whatever that means to them. For many of the people we serve, this means a short-term plan of therapy or other services to help them work through whatever was negatively impacting their well-being; once they have addressed the root causes of their anxiety or depression, for example, they can continue forward with minimal support using the tools they’ve developed with their care team. Others will stay with us longer as they continue taking steps toward their recovery.

For those who do “graduate” out of services and are formally discharged at some point, our expert care teams are standing by to help with recurring needs in the future – we’re just a phone call away.

Gradually, through a few setbacks and challenging periods, Nathan’s symptoms became manageable. He transitioned out of residential care and is living independently in the community, continuing to meet with this care team regularly. While his relationships are still strained at times, he’s closer to his family than he’s been in years.