Treatment can start with your primary care provider!

Care for emotional health can be hard to access. A shortage of providers means long wait times, and insurance and cost issues can be barriers. 

As a primary care provider, I help fill that gap. 

In recent years, primary care providers have played a growing role in mental health care. At your next checkup, don’t hesitate to mention these common concerns related to emotional well-being! 

I feel sad and anxious. Do I need medication or counseling? 

It starts with screening, and we can do that during your annual exam. 

We ask if you feel hopeless or sad and whether you’ve stopped finding pleasure in things you used to enjoy. We talk about changes and circumstances in your life that cause stress or grief. 

There are several antidepressants we can prescribe as a starting point. For a lot of patients, these work great! If you’re still struggling after a few months, we can refer you to a mental health professional for therapy and additional medication options. 

If you have to wait a long time to see a mental health provider, you can keep seeing your primary care provider in the interim. 

I want to lose weight and get healthy. What can I do? 

A healthy lifestyle supports positive emotional health. 

I started my career as a dietitian, so I have experience helping patients use nutrition to achieve many goals: weight loss, improved performance and energy, management of chronic illness, etc. 

If patients are educated about diet and understand the link between food and feeling better, they feel empowered to improve their health through nutrition and exercise rather than medication, surgery, etc. 

As I age, I worry about serious illness. What can I do? 

It’s normal to think about serious issues like heart disease and cancer as you get older because risk increases with age. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. 

Primary care providers prevent serious illness via annual exams, vaccines for illnesses like shingles and pneumonia, and screenings like mammograms, pap tests, colonoscopies, and prostate checks. 

We manage age-related chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, through medication and lifestyle. We help you avoid hospitalization by diagnosing 

and treating problems before they get severe. 

We can also connect you with various medical specialists and help you navigate your care. 

By putting you in control of your health, we help you stay active and age gracefully! 

What other emotional health concerns can I bring up? 

Just about anything! I can counsel patients about smoking cessation and substance abuse, sexual health, abuse, stress, sleep disorders, etc. If you need a specialist, I will help you navigate the process. 

Remember – primary care providers want to build a lasting relationship with you to help you achieve your goals. We are here to listen and help, not judge or reprimand. We want you to feel comfortable talking openly about your physical and emotional health so we can provide evidence-based care and holistic, individualized support. 

To learn more or set-up an appointment, call 901.515.4200. 

Kafila Jaipuri RN, MSN, CFNP, APN is a certified family nurse practitioner at Harbor of Health. She sees patients aged 18 through the geriatric years for acute and chronic conditions.