Dr. Joanne McDougal Patterson, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and entrepreneur, has introduced the first-ever tiny home mobile mental health clinic in Georgia to offer mental healthcare to residents at their doorsteps.
The tiny home clinic provides a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, resembling a residential setting, where patients, particularly women and children, can receive specialized treatment, according to Black News. It is 22 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet high.
“This is the first of its kind in the state,” Patterson told Atlanta News First. “As far as psychiatry, this is the first tiny home mental health clinic, I think, not just Georgia but ever,” she expressed.
Patterson noted that many years ago when working as an OB nurse, she realized that many postpartum women were not receiving the care they needed. Although it was evident that postpartum depression and other concerns were growing, there was no one to turn to.
She explained that she opted to pursue a career in mental health in order to focus on reproductive mental health and later embrace the children whose mothers have postpartum depression as well. According to Patterson, she holds a doctorate in nursing practice, indicating that she is not a medical doctor.
The mother and entrepreneur added that she was also inspired to create a mobile mental health clinic following the pandemic in 2020. “In COVID, the numbers surged with the need for mental health care, because of the stressors of losing jobs and losing loved ones,” she claimed.
She came up with her idea so that everyone, especially the disadvantaged, would have access to mental healthcare. The mobile clinic will be positioned in particular parts of Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties, with the target being the northeast Georgia area.
She also mentioned that the organization will be collaborating with people and groups this month to have the mobile mental health clinic stationed in particular locations. “We’re hoping to really make sure that we are stationed at schools. So that way, moms don’t have to disrupt their workday to take their kids out of school. The kids can be seen right here in the mobile mental health clinic, and moms can log in virtually so that we’re all hearing and seeing the same thing,” she said.
Patterson also established the ReLeaf Boutique, an herbal apothecary dedicated to promoting mental wellness and empowering individuals to take control of their own mental health.
In order to ensure accessibility, Patterson also offers virtual visits for individuals located in Maryland, Washington D.C., Florida, and Nevada.