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      National Health Center Week | Patient Appreciation Day

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      Behavioral health patients recognize their therapy providers as their advocates for a capable life. They see the results through the caring treatment they receive from locally accessible providers. The Health Center Advocacy Network has set apart an annual awareness day to provide focus on those receiving treatment.  

      This year, Wednesday, August 10th is Community Health Center’s Patient Appreciation Day. Part of the  National Health Center Week 2022 awareness campaign, it’s a celebration to express appreciation to local behavioral health clients and physical health patients in underserved socioeconomic communities, and those providing oversight of these neighborhood clinics.  

      Community Health Center (CHC) boards are vital to localized operations and include members of communities served by each clinic. These oversight groups are made up of area residents, clinic patients, and people who stand for others who are served by the health centers. They aim to reflect the community’s demographic composition, including race, ethnicity, and gender.  

      This governance model works because it ensures that patients themselves represent the day-to-day needs and voices of the community. Celebrating patients and board members who keep health centers accountable and abreast of community needs ultimately improves patients’ engagement experiences. 

      download the free behavioral health ehr selection guideA CHC’s objective is to raise awareness of its capabilities. Many needing mental health services aren’t aware that they exist locally. Many have yet to be diagnosed. Often, it’s their family members who first spot the need. They need to be aware of diagnoses needed through the clinic, helping their loved ones gain access to a treatment plan and resources for personalized treatment.  

      While the sponsoring organization’s focus is on community health centers, similar awareness campaign activities are also useful for private sector providers. Behavioral health needs are universal, with people of all geographic locations and socioeconomic situations underrepresented with mental health. The commonality among all: is the lack of awareness of resources available and the individual’s awareness of need.  

      Here are four more ways to share care on Health Center Patient Appreciation Day, and throughout the year:   

      For Board Members – Support co-advocacy with the center’s mission and board members’ broader civic interests. This provides a catalyst for expanded impact on community needs, embracing additional health care capabilities, housing availability, and supporting social services. 

      For Staff and Volunteers – Host activities that congregate and reward these vital team members. Often, people get siloed by the roles they perform, and they don’t have the opportunity to form lasting relationships. They’ll enjoy getting to know each other, collaborating on care, and building mutual respect. It also functions as a staff loyalty program to keep them engaged. The results will carry through to optimizing patient care throughout the organization. 

      For Current Patients – Host a free presentation event addressing a trending topic that’s relatable, particularly one that’s causing anxiety or depression-oriented symptoms. Patients will appreciate the correlation with their struggle, and guidance provided with this possible trigger they're confronting through news and social media accounts. This is an appreciated activity, one transforming loyal patients into good customers and center advocates. 

      For Future Patients – Offer and promote a complementary screening, for those and their families who are curious about what behavioral health care is all about. Other than unawareness, misunderstanding is what keeps many people out of treatment. Once they’re comfortable with the practice, and how this care could help them, more will be served. It’s a people love outreach that they’ll appreciate. Utilize the clinic’s online presence as an invitation platform. 


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