Q&A with Behavioral Health Clinician Kathi Fellion
By Ariel Cianfarano
For patients who might not know, what does a Behavioral Health Clinician do? What can they help with?
A Behavioral Health Clinician, or BHC, looks at the individual’s habits and lifestyle, and how that impacts one’s mental and physical wellbeing. This can include factors like eating and drinking habits, exercise, or addictive behavior patterns.
Some examples of this are substance abuse, eating disorders, gambling, and sex addiction. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), an evidence-based practice consisting of six questions, is utilized as a screening tool when meeting with the individual for the first time at Adagio Health. The purpose is to provide identification, early intervention, referral, and coordination of care for individuals requiring behavioral health services.
Why did you want to become a BHC?
My experiences growing up in a military family included relocating to new cities and schools and making new friends. My family and I were connected with organizations that provided support to families like us, in areas concerning education, economic stability, religion, and community. I observed how these organizations assisted us and other families from different cultures, and over time I realized the importance and necessity of such institutions in our society.
Early on in my life, I decided I wanted to be part of organizations that supported others, making a difference in other people’s lives, and so I pursued a degree in Social Work.
How does behavioral/mental health contribute to a patient’s overall wellbeing?
Behavioral/mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. When any of the core determinants of an individual’s life is impacted – such as lifestyle, nutrition, environment, and genetics – it affects our health and mental wellbeing.
What’s something you want people to know as a BHC?
We are compassionate and caring professionals here at Adagio Health, meeting the individual where they are in their lives, providing and supporting a holistic approach for improving their behavioral and mental health needs.
What kind of help can patients expect from a BHC at Adagio Health?
At Adagio Health, we can provide short-term therapy for those clients who are struggling with some form of anxiety or depression, for example, perhaps over a situational event, such as losing one’s job or finding it hard to understand and manage one’s anxiety when in a public crowded area.
We have also helped patients who have requested, and that I assisted in finding appropriate mental health specialists based on their history, to resume treatment.
Can you describe Adagio Health’s program and how people can seek help?
It is the policy of Adagio Health to screen all new patients and patients attending sick or annual visits in our medical offices for behavioral health concerns by utilizing the SBIRT screening tool. Based on the answers of the patient, a medical staff member will ask if they want to meet with a BHC. The staff member will then arrange a warm handoff to the BHC.
Behavioral Health Services are available at the New Castle Medical Office at 200 S. Jefferson Street, New Castle, PA 16101. The office is open Monday – Friday from 8 to 4:30pm. Call 724-658-6681 to learn more or make an appointment online at https://www.adagiohealth.org/