Behavioral Health

We recognize that taking care of diabetes on a daily basis is hard work. We created the Behavioral Health service to address the emotional and psychosocial issues that arise for most everyone. It is important to know that the emotional aspects of living with diabetes can impact the ability to maintain self care and that tools are available to help your efforts. Our integrative team-model includes mental health services and our onsite behavioral health program. The team is comprised of a psychologist, a social worker, and an art psychotherapist. They have a great deal of diabetes experience and work alongside your other providers to give you and your family the best care possible. Together, we can find a path that leads to a better place.

Because navigating diabetes is not just a matter of physical health, but also a matter of behavioral and emotional health, our aim is to connect newly diagnosed families with our Social Worker, Marta Rebelo, our Psychologist, Dr. Samantha Barry-Menkhaus, and our Art and Family Therapist, Francine Ostrem, within the first few weeks of diagnosis. 

We are committed as a team to promote the best possible health outcomes, to minimize distress surrounding diabetes, and to ease difficult transitions in diabetes care. There are times you or your child will feel: “burned out”, stressed, or frustrated about diabetes, or feel like you keep doing the same thing over and over again, but it is not getting you anywhere. It may also be that some other stressful areas in your life – arguments, academic issues, or bullying – are making it harder to take care of diabetes.

Our social worker, Marta, will help you identify and access resources, which may include mental health services in your area of residence. She is available for crisis management and to address common concerns related to adjusting to a new diabetes diagnosis, realistic expectations for children with diabetes, and the necessity of supportive, non-judgmental parental involvement. She also works with families to ensure insurance coverage and find financial aid when appropriate. If you have not had a chance to meet Marta please ask our staff to schedule an appointment with her at your next visit.

Dr. Samantha Barry-Menkhaus is a pediatric psychologist who delivers evidence-based treatment for a variety of mental health and chronic health conditions with specific expertise in working with diabetes. She specializes in Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and integrates other evidence-based approaches (e.g., ACT, DBT) for children, families, and young adults. Taking a team approach to treatment, Dr. Barry-Menkhaus works with your diabetes care team at the Madison Clinic to support self-management, offer tools for coping with diabetes-related difficulties, and ultimately, aid in the optimization of physical and emotional health. By focusing on the individual, family, and life-context within which the symptoms have arisen, and emphasizing positive change, clients not only experience reductions in symptoms, but develop positive coping skills that can be applied to many other areas of life. The addition of the psychologist allows for evaluations and ongoing therapy.

We also offer art-based psychotherapy. To learn more about this form of behavioral health support, please visit our Art Therapy page. 

Therapy starts by checking what your needs are, making a treatment plan and reviewing it with you. This usually includes regular visits where goals are set, new strategies and skills are learned, and progress is tracked and discussed often.

It can sometimes be hard to ask for help, or you or your child may not know how we can help. Feel free to ask your diabetes care providers about our services and remember that services are provided in a private and confidential manner.  

We believe in early prevention and are here to help with the psychosocial side of diabetes, so please call our clinic at 415-514-6234 to set up an appointment. Our staff will verify your insurance coverage for the behavioral health visit. And when our clinic is not the most convenient or best to address your child’s mental health issues we work together to find appropriate referrals into the community who understand diabetes and work with our team.