Where to start mental health care? Your doctor’s office

Primary care was the starting point for Dakota Weisbecker to get anxiety treatment

Where to start mental health care? Your doctor’s office

After a challenging year, Dakota Weisbecker needed a lift.

“I’ve always kind of known I had an anxiety issue since I was really little. I’ve always just been an anxious person,” the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, resident said.

“I would say at certain points, it’s pretty debilitating. Just with constantly worrying no matter what situation I’m in.”

‘Reach out to your provider, so we can help you’

Struggling to cope with family members battling serious illnesses, the 26-year-old recently took a courageous step and asked her primary care provider, Sanford Health’s Abrea Roark, M.D., for help.

“Definitely since the pandemic, in the last couple of years definitely more people are talking about mental health and I think it’s a great thing,” Dr. Roark said.

“I think the key is really to reach out to your provider, so we can help you.”

Start with primary care: Find a doctor at Sanford Health

Primary care can be a starting point for any behavioral health concerns.

“That just kind of led to getting on medication right away and I was really fortunate that it worked really well for me,” said Weisbecker, who also exercises regularly at Sanford Wellness Center.

About 70% of all prescriptions for treating mental health conditions are written by primary care doctors.

“Then I was able to get referred to the Sanford Psychiatry and Psychology Clinic and from there I had an appointment, and we were able to talk more about my whole life leading up to where I’m at now.”

‘I feel like I’m just doing so much better’

Passionate about meeting her patients where they are, Dr. Roark prides herself on being approachable.

“At some point it’s like, when is this your brain’s appropriate response to the situation versus a pathology? Because we’re all struggling. Everyone is struggling. It’s just who is managing it versus who needs a little bit of extra help. It’s fine. If you need help, we want to help you,” Dr. Roark said.

She adds no one should suffer in silence and there are always options that can improve quality of life.

“I feel like I’m just doing so much better than I was three months ago, four months ago,” Weisbecker said. “Just kind of taking it one day at a time. Never want to get too far in the future because that’s when the anxiety starts to happen. I think that right now my life is really great and things are going well and I just want to keep that going.”

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Posted In Behavioral Health, Family Medicine, Healthy Living, Internal Medicine, Sioux Falls, Women's