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Collaborative Care Program

patient and parent talking to social worker

To evaluate issues related to emotional health along with physical health, the medical team at Morristown Medical Center Family Medicine partners with pediatric and adult mental health experts using the Collaborative Care Model.

Collaborative care programs have been started at cutting edge medical centers and physician practices throughout the United States with successful results, including decreased anxiety and depression in adolescents and a greater sense of satisfaction from patients about the medical care received by their pediatrician.

Our program includes:

  • Screening at annual well visits to identify depression, anxiety and substance use
  • Adolescent and parent education regarding mental health concerns
  • Delivery of evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, in the primary care environment by a collaborative care clinician
  • Safety assessments to reduce risk of self-harm
  • Care management by a collaborative care clinician
  • Supervision of an adolescent’s treatment by a care team, which includes a licensed clinical social worker
  • Increased level of care for adolescents who are not improving
  • Relapse prevention planning to help adolescents stay well
  • A team approach that includes care coordination between the pediatrician, licensed clinical social worker, the adolescent and their parents

Frequently Asked Questions

We recognize that a discussion about emotional health is most effectively done with a family-centered approach, as a conversation between patients and families and the pediatricians that know them best.

Your child and your family are the most important people on our team! We are here for you. Talk to us about any concerns. This helps our staff to best help your child with any difficulties they might be experiencing.

Q: I’m concerned about my child’s privacy. What can you tell me about confidentiality?
A: The adolescents’ responses to the questionnaires are confidential between the adolescent and the pediatrician and will be shared with parents if the team is concerned about the adolescent’s safety. When enrolled in the collaborative care program, information shared by the adolescent with the therapist or pediatrician is also confidential, unless the team is concerned about the adolescent’s safety.

Q: If you recommend treatment, is it required that we participate?
A: While we believe that patients and families would benefit from participation in screening and in treatment if positive results are identified, it is essential for patients and parents to be aware that they have the right to decline to be screened and also to decline treatment if results are found to be positive.

Q: How does treatment end? What if we need additional support?
 The collaborative care clinician will be tracking improvement over time with the adolescent. When the clinician and adolescent feel symptoms have improved and/or they are ready to end treatment, a relapse prevention plan will be completed prior to ending care. This will review triggers for recurrent symptoms, and a plan for how the adolescent and his or her family will manage any recurrent problems. A copy of this will be given to the adolescent and family at the close of treatment.

After treatment with the collaborative care clinician ends, families and adolescents can always contact the clinician or pediatrician if needing to restart treatment should a new issue arise. If an adolescent wants a referral for outside services, they should feel free to speak with the pediatrician and collaborative care clinician.

Q: What is the Collaborative Care Team?
The pediatric doctor oversees all of your child’s care. The doctor works closely with the other members of the care team to make sure your child gets the best care possible.

The collaborative care clinician therapist is a licensed clinical social worker that will work closely with the doctors to create and support a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs. If you or your child have any questions, the clinical therapist is the person to ask.

Q: What concerns will you be asking me and my child about?
If you are noticing anything unusual about your child, or if your child is depressed or anxious, he or she may be:

  • Feeling sad or moody
  • Feeling worried or nervous
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Sleeping too little or too much or feeling tired all the time
  • Isolating from friends or family
  • Having trouble paying attention
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Refusing to go to school or missing a lot of school days
  • Feeling panicky, sweaty, have chest pains or shortness of breath
  • Frequent unexplained headaches or stomach aches
  • Things that used to make him or her happy do not make him or her happy anymore

If you have noticed these signs, please talk to us. You may also contact our collaborative care clinician.

Collaborative Care Program

Our Collaborative Care program screens and, when appropriate, offers treatment for common behavioral and psychiatric problems, such as anxiety and depression, that are often overlooked. This program is available for patients of all ages.