How Dr. Joanne Patterson is revolutionizing psychiatric mental health with first-ever mobile psychiatric clinic

BY Ben Ebuka Oji September 19, 2023 3:02 PM EDT
Dr. Joanne Patterson
Dr. Joanne Patterson. Photo credit: Subject

Dr. Joanne McDougal Patterson, a certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, integrative mental health services practitioner, and culinary therapist has pioneered a groundbreaking concept in psychiatric health.

She is the visionary behind the first-ever mobile psychiatric clinic, known as Nurse Practitioner On Wheels (N.O.W). This innovative clinic, housed within a 20ft long, 8.5ft wide, and 13.5ft tall mobile home, revolutionizes the delivery of mental health services. It provides patients with a warm, inviting, and serene environment that resembles a home, ensuring they receive personalized attention and top-quality healthcare.

“As far as psychiatry, this is the first tiny home mental health clinic, I think not just Georgia, but ever,” said Dr. Joanne Patterson, DNP, PMHNP-BC, CIMHP.”

Dr. Joanne McDougal Patterson

Born and raised in the Virgin Islands, USA, Dr. Joanne Patterson is also the founder of Dr. Joanne Psychiatry LLC., whose core mission is to “to enhance accessibility to care and deliver culturally sensitive, integrative psychiatric treatment tailored to women and children.”

When discussing her visionary mobile clinic, Dr. Patterson emphasized its focus on the modern woman and her family. She was inspired to build this mobile psychiatric clinic to ensure accessible and comfortable mental health care for women and children residing in Metro Atlanta. It is a common refrain that while mental health treatment is discussed, individuals often hesitate to seek help due to the intimidating environment, associated stigma, and the prevailing negative perception of mental health. Dr. Patterson’s clinic seeks to dismantle these barriers and provide a welcoming space for healing.

The Mental Wellness ReLeaf Mobile Clinic is the FIRST tiny home psychiatric clinic on wheels. Photon credit: Dr. Joanne Patterson

Notably, Dr. Patterson possesses a unique understanding of the role of food as medicine. In her ongoing pursuit of expanding her clinical expertise and diversifying her mental health services, she is pursuing a culinary medicine specialist certification. This certification equips her with a distinct foundation for incorporating healthy eating into her patients’ treatment plans, encompassing comprehensive knowledge of nutrition and culinary techniques that align with real-world considerations such as budgets, time constraints, and nutritional ideals.

In her practice, Dr. Patterson embraces Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs), offering women with depression and anxiety disorders an alternative to traditional individual medical appointments. SMAs involve a series of one-on-one encounters within a group setting, affording the benefits of peer support and expedited appointment scheduling.

Dr. Patterson’s approach recognizes the profound impact of emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, and worry on the human nervous system. She employs evidence-based techniques and mindfulness therapy to guide patients in shifting from states of stress and frustration to attain balance, clarity, improved sleep, and resilience. Real-time feedback based on each patient’s heart rhythm is provided, complemented by access to over 500 guided meditations for a full year.

For those seeking a mental health therapist nearby, Dr. Patterson’s exceptional ability to connect with families is a defining hallmark. Drawing upon her extensive 20 years of nursing experience, including maternal-child nursing, Dr. Joanne Patterson places paramount importance on the art of listening to each client’s unique narrative, recognizing that genuine care begins with understanding the individual journey.