LEWISTON – Following a national trend, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Common Ties Mental Health Coalition have teamed up to provide integrated healthcare at the B Street Health Center.

Studies show people with mental illness die 10 to 15 years earlier than the general population, in part, because they have a greater difficulty accessing primary care to meet all their physical and behavioral needs. A new approach may change that.

The Integrated Primary Care project combined staff in one location, and under the direction of the primary care physician, provides coordinated primary and behavioral healthcare to the patient.

Those interested can learn more about that care during a conference, “Health and Wellness Promotion for People with Psychiatric Disabilities.” Speaking will be Dr. Dori Hutchinson from the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University. Hutchinson, a native Mainer, is working to bring IPC into the national spotlight.

Speaking from the Maine perspective will be Brenda Harvey, MSEd, CRC, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Elise Freeman, MPH, medical director, Department of Health and Human Services Adult Mental Health Division.

The presentation, sponsored by St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Common Ties Mental Health Coalition, will be held Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Lepage Conference Center, 99 Campus Ave. Registration and a continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the program will run between 8 a.m. through 12:30 p.m.. The cost is $40.

For more program information or to preregister, go to www.stmarysmaine.com or call 777-8759.

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