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Behavioral Health


Making the Decision to Get Help

A member who suffered from alcoholism finally learned to trust — and got the help she so badly needed.

For years, Carol had struggled with alcoholism — and it was taking a terrible toll on her health, her relationships and her spirit. The 39-year-old Washington resident was in and out of the emergency room on a weekly basis in 2012.

She experienced gastrointestinal bleeding and esophagitis, both exacerbated by alcoholism. Her mental health suffered, too: she had a history of untreated mental health issues, including auditory hallucinations.

Every part of her life affected by alcoholism

Living at home with her parents, Carol was not able to care for herself. She couldn’t follow through with her doctor’s recommended treatment either. Like many individuals facing multiple, chronic health conditions, her financial stability and quality of life were poor.

What Carol really needed was integrated care coordination: care that addressed her multiple health conditions and provided connections to a mental health specialist and community resources. She needed a lifeline.

But Carol rejected help repeatedly — and for a very long time. She wouldn’t return calls or keep appointments that were set up for her. When her physical condition deteriorated, UnitedHealthcare stepped in with case management services that integrate physical and behavioral health care services.

Resisting help at every turn

Turning away help — Kathy, a specialist in High Risk Case Management, took on Carol’s case with her usual can-do spirit and compassion. She used a gentle, caring touch when leaving countless voice mail messages for Carol. And when Carol was hospitalized, Kathy called to reassure her and to let her know that she would always be there for her — like Carol’s own personal registered nurse — no matter what.

Still, months passed and Carol resisted help. But Kathy didn’t give up — she maintained her calling vigil. Finally one day, Carol began returning Kathy’s calls. She had hit bottom and was ready to get help.

Finally, a breakthrough

Carol needed transportation to her appointments, which Kathy happily arranged. Having earned Carol’s trust, Kathy successfully persuaded her to visit a treatment center. Carol also began attending regular follow-up appointments with her primary care physician. Whenever Carol relapsed or needed encouragement, Kathy was there for her — a constant presence Carol could turn to.

Over time, Carol’s physical and mental health began to improve. Today, Carol is on the path to recovery and discovering a new joy in living. She is stable, sober and finding great enjoyment in art therapy — a way to express herself creatively while boosting her sense of well-being.

She knows that Kathy will be there with the support and encouragement she needs to live another sober day.