Mental health affects almost every other aspect of health. Four of the top five drivers of health care costs either originate with, or are exacerbated by, issues related to a patient’s mental health.

Depression, anxiety and neurosis can cause self-destructive behaviors such as overeating and substance abuse and can affect blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and other areas.

Many of the behavior patterns that impact our health negatively begin in childhood – and persist for the rest of our lives.

All too often, health care treats the physical effects of mental health issues without addressing the underlying causes: the behavior or patterns of behavior that caused the crisis. And the chronic shortage of mental health professionals means that patients with a referral can sometimes wait for months before being seen.

This is why vMentalWellness is integrated into every service Mercy Virtual provides.

We provide training and assessment tools that help primary care physicians and pediatricians recognize the signs of mental distress and treat the conditions – and we provide access to specialists who can provide immediate care in real time.