MOBE | Your connection to better health

Addressing mental health and advancing health equity: Carlos’ story.

By: MOBE team

People face numerous barriers on their journey to becoming healthier and happier, including non-medical factors like environmental and socioeconomic circumstances that are not within their control.

Seldomly is a doctor’s visit enough to drive the change necessary for overcoming obstacles and disparities affecting physical and mental health—especially if someone has a disorder that complicates communication.

MOBE participant Carlos taught students with learning disabilities and emotional disorders. He was dedicated to this demographic that he felt was often overlooked. “I wanted to give them a support that I didn’t have,” he said.

Carlos has autism. The highest-rated barriers for adults with autism are deciding if symptoms warrant a doctor’s visit, making appointments over the phone, feeling misunderstood, and having difficulty communicating with their doctor.1 MOBE was uniquely equipped to fill gaps in Carlos’ care and to pivot as he faced new challenges. “Before MOBE, I struggled a lot with social interactions, self-confidence, weight management, and an overall direction to go with life,” he said.

Because MOBE Guide Brianna had gotten to know him and built that trusted relationship, she was able to help him through a serious crisis.

Carlos was let go from his teaching position due to budget cuts. He lost his health insurance, access to his mental health professional, and his ability to sleep and function or even meet basic needs. “It was mentally and emotionally shattering. I was to the point of being hospitalized for severe depression. That was all my income,” Carlos said.

Carlos reached out to Brianna, and they started meeting more frequently over the phone and on the MOBE Health Guide app to help him manage his anxiety.

Because of the sudden loss of access to health care, Carlos didn’t know how he would pay for the mental health medications he needed or who would prescribe them. Brianna connected him with MOBE Pharmacist Mari to help him build a new framework. Mari researched and helped him apply for pharmaceutical assistance programs and affordable insurance plans.

“[Mari] also worked with my doctor by making recommendations that would help in my time of need. She was working with my doctor on my behalf—I’m super thankful because I didn’t assume a pharmacist would do that. And she helped quell my anxiety, doubt, and depression.”

Mari met with Carlos regularly to optimize his medication use. She led him to the plan he has now which allows him to keep his mental health provider, covers the cost of seeing a doctor, and has significantly reduced the cost of his medication.

“You have the Guides that help support my needs—emotional, physical—and just overall knowledge that I didn’t know. And you have the Pharmacist that helps supplement and helps maintain and helps provide with the primary care physician. So all of these are an integral part of my life. It isn’t just like some kind of weight loss plan. It’s more than that. It helps you, guides you on the right path on your desired path in life,” he said.

MOBE helped Carlos in ways no other single solution can. He credits MOBE with helping him gain newfound resilience and improve his mental and physical health. “MOBE is a bunch of angels, and a bunch of warriors on your behalf,” he said. Carlos is now working two jobs: as a substitute teacher and at a hospital in food and nutrition. He used to internalize his struggles and lack self-confidence, but he now embraces his autism and streams on Twitch.tv with the hopes his viewers become more aware of how to interact with people like him.

Carlos overcame economic and emotional obstacles because he had dedicated, personal, trusted guidance that considered everything contributing to his whole-health picture. His story is an example of how human-to-human conversations and understanding build a scaffolding that supports and enables positive change.

References:

1. Doherty M, Neilson S, O'Sullivan J, Carravallah L, Johnson M, Cullen W, Shaw SCK. “Barriers to healthcare and self-reported adverse outcomes for autistic adults: a cross-sectional study.” BMJ Open. (2022 Feb 22);12(2):e056904. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056904. PMID: 35193921; PMCID: PMC8883251.

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