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Checking off the boxes

OneWorld patient improves mental health, seeks to help others do the same

Tess Copperstone, Health Assistant, joined the OneWorld team in January 2024.

Before Tess Copperstone joined OneWorld as a Health Assistant, she was a young woman struggling with her mental health in need of a new primary care clinician in Omaha.

She had recently moved from a small town in Iowa and realized the 1.5-hour roundtrip drive for medical appointments was not feasible.

At the time, Copperstone worked in the pharmacy department for Nebraska Medicine, and said the OneWorld patients she worked with who went to Nebraska Medicine for specialty care spoke highly of OneWorld.

“I took their experiences into consideration, and decided to call to make myself an appointment,” said Copperstone. “I was really struggling with my mental health, so I’m very grateful that I took the initiative to schedule that appointment and get the help that I needed.”

The day of her appointment at the Teen and Young Adult Health Center South clinic, Copperstone walked into her assigned exam room with a written list of her needs.

She began talking to Amy Lacroix, MD, Pediatrician, and said she immediately felt heard.

“Dr. Lacroix was very thorough, and I am appreciative of that because it made me feel like she really cared about me as a person and wanted to help me,” said Copperstone.

Copperstone works with Arely Ruiz, Clinic Supervisor, at OneWorld Plattsmouth.

One of the major items on Copperstone’s list was her personal concerns about her mental health. Copperstone said that Dr. Lacroix spoke with her about adding therapy into her care plan, and arranged for Kevin Heeb, PLMHP, Behavioral Health Therapist, to join the appointment.

“I had no idea that I was going to be able to start therapy that day,” said Copperstone. “Everything on my list and more was met within one appointment.”

Since her first appointment, Copperstone has continued to see Sage Volk, PLMHP, OneWorld Behavioral Health Intern, every 3-4 weeks for therapy sessions. She has also maintained quarterly appointments with Dr. Lacroix to make adjustments as needed to her care plan to help Copperstone stay on the path of improving her health.

“I’m happy to say I am in a much better place now than when I first came to OneWorld,” said Copperstone.

In January of 2024, Copperstone went from patient to staff by joining the team of health assistants. Copperstone said she aspires to attend nursing school and saw the opportunity to work as a health assistant as a way to further her career and prepare for nursing school.

While working in the medical setting is not new for Copperstone, she said she is looking forward to learning new skills and being directly involved with patient care.

“My personal experiences give me a unique perspective of the importance of whole person care,” said Copperstone. “I’m looking forward to helping patients complete their check lists of needs, just like how the team at Teen and Young Adult Health Center South did for me.”

Increasing access to traditional behavioral health therapy

In 2023, OneWorld officially added traditional behavioral health services to increase access to mental health services for patients and the community. These efforts began with providing traditional therapy at Millard South High School. This service has expanded to OneWorld’s primary care setting as well through the addition of three therapists.

Behavioral Health Therapist, Kevin Heeb, PLMHP, serves as the primary clinician at Millard South High School. Offering these services directly in the school, removes many access barriers and helps normalize therapy for teenagers and their parents/guardians.

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