It is 2:30 pm on a Thursday afternoon, Ann and her son Steve just walked out of an intense weekly mandated family counseling session. It’s been five weeks and I still don’t feel like there’s been any progress, Ann thought as they walked down the hall. She wiped tears off her face, I just don’t know what to do anymore.
Earlier that week Steve was caught being truant at school and almost got suspended for being very aggressive toward the school security. Ann had to convince the middle school dean that they were working on making things better, since her husband’s passing ten months ago, Steve’s behavior has continued declining. This was their third therapist since starting family counseling a month after her husband’s death. Ann didn’t want to switch again but felt helpless and didn’t feel like the therapist provided the help or resources she needed. Opening up to someone else and having to explain everything all over again is too painful, Ann contemplated. What’s next, Steve goes to jail for doing something I warned the therapist would happen? She shook her head in frustration.
Ann and Steve walked out of the building, got into the car, and drove home. Not one word was said.
It is unfortunate that many households are a variation of Ann’s story and her relationship with her son, Steve. Time and time again families, or individuals, seeking behavioral health services do not feel they are receiving adequate support from their behavioral health advisor, social worker, or clinician. It may be the case that certain individuals are not the right fit for each other – which is okay. But in most cases, it can be the simple fact that individuals are just not receiving the level of care (LOC) or support they need.
Professionals in behavioral health, social work, child welfare and many other human service departments are given several cases to oversee, all of which differ in the steps and approaches necessary to help their clients. Under countless paperwork and assessments required for each case, the LOC provided can become watered down, or neglected over time. This can lead the family to feel that they are not getting the support they need in turn making the behavioral health professional feel stumped on creating progress.
Visual and interactive analysis may be a way to process and follow the progress of cases like these. It can make it easier for clients and their behavioral health technicians to communicate with each other about where they want to go with the provided services. Having a way to picture and discuss events captured from assessments and paperwork can engage both clients and technicians in becoming more involved with determining the LOC needed to address strengths or needs. With visual and interactive analytics, not only can the clinician, social worker, or therapist track the progress of their clients, but they can identify which clients from their caseloads needs more support or resources versus others. The LOC a client needs will always be a case-by-case basis, but if there was a way for behavioral health personnel to identify and allocate cases that need more or a different type of support – well it can change the dynamic of the whole experience for everyone for the better.
Cases like Ann’s don’t have to continue to feel like there is a general misinterpretation between a family’s or client’s needs and what is being addressed. By incorporating a way to visually communicate and trace the situations, everyone can identify areas that are strong and areas that are lacking in support, and move forward with their care. No one should have to fall through the cracks because the level of care was insufficient.