Lynda Kelley first came to the Center for Life Management after experiencing a psychological trauma, but now she turns to CLM for help with her physical as well as her mental health. Lynda participates in CLM’s new Healthy Together program, which provides primary medical care for clients on-site so they can have “one-stop shopping” for all their medical needs. A partnership between CLM and Lamprey Health Care, the program is seen as important because people with severe mental illness die as much as 25 years earlier than those in the general population, often from preventable causes, and they sometimes have difficulty finding medical providers they consider “a good fit” for their needs.
“Now I have everything I need in the same building and they sort of are like a team for me,” Lynda says. “I totally would recommend the program.”
She first visited CLM some five years ago after an incident when she was working as a housekeeper at a Windham hotel, entered a room to clean it and found a dead man hanging from a belt. “I have PTSD from it,” she says. “It was terrible. I had wicked flashbacks. I kept seeing things, faces in clothing. I couldn’t sleep in my bedroom for two months because it has a closet there. I was totally traumatized.”
She started seeing a therapist at CLM and a psychiatrist prescribed medications to help her with her depression, inability to sleep, and anxiety. She has continued that therapy and joined the Healthy Together program at the suggestion of her therapist. The program provides her things like physicals and routine screenings, but also helps her cope with her emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“Our goal is to really reduce stigma, improve physical health outcomes, reduce chronic disease and care for the whole person,” says Amy Izzett, CLM’s Coordinator of Integrated Care. The program now serves more than 150 patients, offering both telehealth and in-office visits on two days per week. On Fridays, a team consisting of Izzett, physician assistant Susan Nichols, a representative of Lamprey Health Care, CLM Medical Director Ken Brown, medical staff members, therapists and psychiatrists “huddle” to talk about their mutual patients and the best way to provide for their needs.
The Healthy Together Program recently expanded to include teens ages 12 and older. Current plans call for expanding the program in the Derry and Salem CLM oces to allow for primary care five days a week, according to Amy. That comes as good news to Lynda, who has hoped for medical care availability beyond the current twice-a-week appointment schedule.
“They’re very nice, very supportive. No matter what it is, they’ll help you,” says Lynda, a Pelham resident who now runs her own housekeeping company. “The whole staff is super friendly. Now that I’m in there, I’m so glad because this is the best medical provider I’ve ever had in my life. I’m very comfortable going there.”