HealthONE - March 02, 2020

To meet the unique needs of women in our community, the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, a campus of The Medical Center of Aurora, opened Colorado’s first behavioral health unit dedicated to caring for women ages 18+ on their journey to mental and emotional well-being.

The need for a women’s behavioral health unit

According to research, one in five women in the United States experience some form of mental health condition, with many of them going untreated. Women have unique life experiences and therefore require specialized care on their road to mental and emotional wellness.

Everything from biological and psychological to social and environmental influences can lead to mental health symptoms, with women sometimes presenting symptoms differently than men with the same conditions. In fact, some mental health conditions are more prevalent in women than in men.

“Women tend to discuss their mental health with their primary care providers more than men, however, it is estimated that just under half of women with mental illness are not diagnosed or treated,” states Sara Coon BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager - Women’s Behavioral Health.

What factors may contribute to mental health conditions in women?

Every person is different, and therefore the prevalence and manifestation of symptoms will vary from person-to-person. However, there are some common contributors to mental health conditions in women, including the following:

  • Childhood trauma
  • Discrimination
  • Domestic or sexual violence
  • Work-related stress unique to women
  • Biological and chemical imbalances
  • Societal pressures of being a woman, wife, or mother
  • Substance use
  • Thoughts related to guilt or shame

More about the new women’s behavioral health unit at The Medical Center of Aurora

The Women’s Behavioral Health Unit will be located at the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center at The Medical Center of Aurora.

Below are a few key features of the new unit:

  • The staff and physicians are made up primarily of women
  • Providers are specially trained in women’s health
  • Individualized treatment is provided in a safe, comfortable, spa-like atmosphere
  • A 24/7 crisis hotline is available whenever needed

Furthermore, we offer both an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) to help meet the needs of the women in our community. We also have a Mom’s Mood group.

Our mental wellness programs for women can help with:

  • Depression/anxiety
  • Development of daily living skills and emotion management
  • Eating disorders
  • Medication assessment
  • Prenatal or postpartum issues
  • Psychiatric symptoms that impair social, occupational or other areas of functioning
  • Self-injury or suicidal thoughts
  • Substance use and other addictions
  • Trauma

Below are some FAQs with Sara Coon BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager- Women’s Behavioral Health:

What is the role of medication for chemical / biological conditions?

“When these natural chemicals within the brain are not working as they should, medications, psychotherapy and other treatment approaches may assist the brain to run more efficiently.”

How do you know if you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness?

“If you or someone you know has experienced a change in thoughts, behaviors, or mood lasting more than two weeks, this can be a sign of a mental health condition. Often times, these changes interfere with daily life such as work and relationships. Symptoms can range in severity and may include anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, crying spells, or lack of interest in things that you used to enjoy.”

What types of conditions are more prevalent in women than men?

“Some studies show that women experience major depression and anxiety disorders twice as often as men.”

Why is a women’s behavioral health unit needed?

“A woman’s physiologic and psychological needs change over their life cycle. It is important that they have providers that understand their ever-changing needs and have the resources available in trying times.” What Are the Potential Results of Treatment? “Through therapies, medication, and/or the identification of supports, our staff will assist patients in finding the approach that works best for them. Every patient will have an individual treatment plan designed to help them reach their highest quality of health and wellness.”

Tell us more about the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center

“Our highly-trained staff at the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center have a passion for mental health. We encourage our staff to participate in continued learning to better meet the needs of the population we serve within the community. We have a unique approach to working towards mindfulness and resiliency to help others achieve a balanced life. By utilizing an integrated approach, we are able to assist patients in feeling empowered to improve their quality of life.”

The goal of the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center

The Behavioral Health and Wellness Center offers a safe and therapeutic environment during trying times. Our team is passionate about helping others find their strength and resilience to overcome whatever it is they may encounter. Our goal is to help each woman achieve a sense of wellness and growth throughout life’s different stages. Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. Take a minute to learn more about The Behavioral Health and Wellness Center at The Medical Center of Aurora.