SIM success stories: Local public health agencies make strides

The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) funds eight local public health agencies around the state to help achieve its goals to influence the health of 80% of Colorado residents. The team will publish success stories from LPHAs that have selected various ways to help providers integrate behavioral and physical health and address mental health stigma. The following success stories were provided by the Health District of Northern Larimer County, one of the SIM grantees. The stories were submitted by the Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Connections (CAYAC) Team and illustrate the success of this LPHA’s efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of offering integrated behavioral and physical health and to refer more patients to behavioral health specialists.

Winning the lottery: Integrated care helps teen
Michael, age 13, had been described as “difficult” from an early age. He was often isolated from others due to struggles with sensory integration, interpersonal interactions, impulse control, and attention difficulties. He had seen several psychiatrists throughout his life with varying diagnoses and no improvement, which is why Michael’s parents felt hopeless when his primary care provider referred Michael to CAYAC. 

The first step was for the CAYAC psychologist to review Michael’s previous testing and finalize an assessment with his parents. Michael was then scheduled for a psychiatry intake for a medication evaluation, which led to a specific diagnosis and a clear understanding of Michael’s needs. This increased his parents’ confidence in their ability to support him and ensure he followed through with treatment.

Michael’s parents were connected to an occupational therapist and counseling services in the community and met with CAYAC’s school liaison to determine his needs at school. This partnership between Michael’s parents and the school liaison led to critical modifications to his individualized educational program.

Because of these interventions, Michael’s mood and behavior has improved, he is stable on his medication regime and he has been transferred to psychiatry services in the community for long-term care. His parents reported feeling “incredibly grateful” for CAYAC and said it was as though they had “won the lottery” of services.