Catherine’s Story: How the IMPACT Model is Making an Impact

At age 42, Catherine Snyder feels happier and more full of life than she has in a long time.

A Vermont native and longtime resident of Lowville, Ms. Snyder has struggled with depression since she was a child. She has endured physical and sexual abuse, marriages ending in divorce and death, and other hardships along the way.

Over the years, she sought help in both medical and community environments with limited results – some programs made her feel uncomfortable talking about her personal life, others resulted in prescription drugs that she had concerns or questions about.

Then, in the familiarity of her family doctor’s office, Lowville Medical Associates, she was introduced to the “IMPACT Model” and began feeling better almost immediately.

Short for “Improving Mood – Providing Access to Collaborative Treatment,” this model gives Ms. Snyder plenty of one-on-one time with her doctor and an on-site Depression Care Manager, who both work closely with an off-site psychiatrist to determine an individualized treatment plan.

impact modelMs. Snyder said her Depression Care Manager, Brenda, also checks in with her on a weekly basis, asking her to rate her mood, symptoms and other behavioral health factors from zero to three.

“She’s awesome; she’s very easy to talk to,” Ms. Snyder said. “When she does call, not only does she ask me those questions, but she’s just someone I can talk to.”

“When I first started, my score was a 26, and that’s pretty high,” she said. “After my first week, it went down to a 20; the second week it dropped to a 12, and this week when I did it, it was a nine. I really have improved.”

For Ms. Snyder, the defining factor in her mental health care was that she was able to receive it where it was most comfortable for her. She has been a patient at Lowville Medical Associates – where she regularly sees Dr. Steven Lyndaker – since the early 1990s.

“He’s always just built me up, giving me encouragement,” she said. “When I’ve tried talking about my depression in other places, I clam up – but I’m very comfortable here. It feels like you’re going to a friend’s house to visit. Even the secretaries go out of their way to just talk to you.”

Furthermore, she said, Dr. Lyndaker and his staff always fully explain the purposes and side effects of any medications prescribed to her, and she knows that when she calls with a question or to schedule a sudden appointment, she will get the help she needs.

For Ms. Snyder, all of these factors have seemed to make a difference in her health.

“I feel so much better,” she said. “I’m getting involved in the community and I’m back into liking to do things with my kids. We’ve been doing crafts and going on walks when we can.”

Though the IMPACT Model is relatively new, Ms. Snyder said she hopes more doctors will try it and let their patients see the same benefits she has. She encourages those who are struggling with depression to reach out to a medical professional they feel comfortable talking to.

“Definitely reach out,” she said. “There is help out there.”

After finishing this interview at Dr. Lyndaker’s office, Catherine walked down the hallway to see Brenda, her Depression Care Manager. She said she wanted to have an IMPACT Model session while she was there.