Amanda Arcuri is a big believer in the power of compassion. At the age most children are encouraged to share their crayons and keep their hands to themselves, she was receiving an advanced life lesson, not in a Kindergarten classroom, but in a homeless shelter.
“My mom was a registered nurse, and she used to distribute the medication at a men’s adult home,” Arcuri said. “She would bring me with her, and I’d sit and talk with the men while she was giving them their meds. I think it opened my eyes to the fact that everyone is going through a challenge, and not everything is unsafe just because it’s unknown.”
Arcuri, a licensed clinical social worker who lives in New Jersey with her husband, Christian, and their dog, Beau, now uses her well-developed empathy muscles to help improve access to mental health care every day.
At Quartet, Arcuri oversees a team of patient care navigators who offer personalized support to patients throughout their experience to ensure they get the right care at the right time. Her team reviews and manages patient referrals, talks with people about their therapy preferences, coordinates their mental health care, and strives to make the process as seamless as possible. Care Navigators are there to help people every step of the way.
The role suits Arcuri perfectly. Before joining Quartet, she saw the barriers that make it difficult for people to access mental health care, and that fuels her work today.
“Mental health is an under resourced health space, and it’s not treated like a regular specialty or referral. There are still individuals who work in health care, and who don’t know how to find a therapist,” she said. “My team is working to change that.”
Barriers to Mental Health Care
After completing a Masters program, Arcuri took an internship working with domestic violence survivors. She then landed her first job supporting homeless men with substance use conditions.
“That’s where I really learned about the barriers to mental health care, how challenging the systems are, and how many systems are involved,” she said. “I couldn’t navigate them myself, even with a Masters degree in the field. I was stable, educated, and had resources, so it made me think, how can an individual who’s homeless and doesn’t have any support navigate such a complicated system?”
At her next job, she managed programs in the criminal justice system for people who were incarcerated or just returning home from state prison. “In my time there, I was very frustrated that mental health care tended to exclude individuals who lacked resources,” she said.
So, Arcuri looked for a role where she had more creative flexibility, could make an impact at a broader level and, perhaps, create real change in those hard-to-navigate systems. Quartet fit the bill perfectly.
“I knew I had experience with complex patients, so I felt like a could bring something to Quartet,” she said. “I liked the idea that there would be more resources for patients than in settings I had previously worked.”
Leveraging the Primary Care Provider
Arcuri’s first role at Quartet was helping primary care providers understand their patients’ mental health needs, and how they could best use Quartet platform to refer patients for mental health care and collaborate with mental health providers on treatment plans.
“I quickly learned how useful a primary care provider can be in someone’s physical and mental health,” Arcuri said. “When you have good primary care providers who really know their patients, they can impact not only their physical health, but they can motivate patients to step into mental health care.”
On the Frontlines
Now Arcuri leads a team of care experts invested in helping people with mental health conditions get connected to care.
“They’re the patients’ true support system,” Arcuri said. “I’m proud to say the team really bends over backwards to get patients into the right care, and that’s because they care deeply about each patient that comes through.”
Arcuri also spends her days making sure the patients are heard and connected with the right resources for their needs.
“My biggest priority is that no patient falls through the cracks for any reason Quartet can control,” she said.
And that is making all the difference. Arcuri and her team, who work with hundreds of patients a day, have helped connect people with mental health conditions around the country get the care they need.
“Mental Health Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to proudly talk about the work we do and hopefully reduce the stigma attached to mental health care. I want every person with a mental health condition to be able to get treatment, like cognitive behavioral therapy, as easily as they would be able to get a splint for a sprained ankle,” she said.