Mike Inman sees a strong connection between people’s mental and physical health.
Thus, he thinks it’s important to bridge the gap between them to bring them together.
Inman will do so by serving as a behavioral health consultant at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center in a contract with Seasons Center for Behavioral Health.
Promise was awarded a $250,000 grant for mental health treatment and service expansion in November from the Health and Human Services Administration. Inman will be a key cog in the implementation of that grant by working directly with Promise’s health providers to increase patients’ access to behavioral health services in an effort to better integrate primary care and behavioral health services.
He started in his role on Monday, Feb. 16.
“The goal of my position is to promote increased access to behavioral health services and successful implementation of a fully integrated primary care and behavioral health services model of care,” Inman said. “When patients have greater access to mental health services and wellness services, it has been shown that they live fuller lives and avoid health crises, which can be catastrophic financially.”
Inman grew up in Sioux City and graduated from Sioux City North High School in 1979. He earned bachelor’s degrees in history and religion from the University of Iowa in 1984, a master’s degree in religious studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, KS, in 1991, and a doctorate degree in philosophical theology from Duquesne University in 1997.
His career background includes serving as an adjunct professor at Duquesne and Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, 1994-99, and as a chaplain and bereavement coordinator at Hospice of Siouxland in Sioux City, 1999-2010. He worked most recently as a clinical therapist at Siouxland Mental Health Center in Sioux City after completing a master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa in May.
Inman and his wife, Cindy, and his daughter, Jessi, live in Kingsley. He always has been interested in sports and exercise. In fact, he played college tennis at the University of Iowa and served as a tennis instructor for eight years after college. He also loves traveling, reading and spending time at his daughter’s many events.
Here are his reflections on his new role at Promise and his views on behavioral health:
Q: What interested you about serving as a behavioral health consultant at Promise in conjunction with Seasons Center for Behavioral Health?
A: I was impressed with the professionalism and the openness to creativity and growth that Promise and Seasons exhibited, and I wanted to get back to working in a collaborative environment. This job sounded like an interesting adventure.
Q: What does behavioral health mean in your own words?
A: Behavioral health is a new term to describe the more holistic approach to mental health that includes preventive therapies for substance abuse and wellness as well as traditional psychological interventions. There is an old saying, “A cheerful heart is medicine to the bones.” This sums up my attitude toward providing mental health in a clinic setting.
Q: How did you initially become interested in caring for people’s mental health?
A: I found in working at Hospice of Siouxland that pastoral care and counseling were both vital components in caring for the elderly, and my background had been heavily concentrated in pastoral care. I enjoyed counseling people in spiritual matters, and it seemed that becoming more educated in mental health would supplement my work.
Q: What role will you play at Promise?
A: I hope to be a resource to staff and to patients in terms of mental health diagnoses, screening tools and treatment options as well as someone who promotes the therapists and all of our staff. It seems to me this model of care is on the cutting edge of where health care needs to go, so I would hope to be a spokesperson for Seasons and Promise in the years ahead.
Q: Why do you think behavioral health care is important?
A: I think people are integrated beings and what impacts one aspect of our lives inevitably impacts the whole person. For example, numerous studies have been done which show how stress can impact our immune system and cause our health to deteriorate. Viktor Frankl has argued that Auschwitz prisoners who had a sense of purpose and decency about them survived much better than those who saw their situation as hopeless. So spiritual, emotional and physical experiences all impact each other for better or worse.
Q: What is rewarding about your profession?
A: I think a goal of a behavioral therapist is to be able to make a connection with a person by empathizing with their situation and allowing them to feel understood. People want to be able to talk to someone they trust – someone who gets their struggle and someone who has survived their own struggle enough to be able to offer a hopeful vision. I think the word that best describes this interaction is compassion. I think compassion is what people want, and when we are able in some small way to give that, it is life-giving for both parties.