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Two Approaches to Behavioral Health Integration

CE Credit: 1

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Length: 50 minutes

Session offered by Divison 18.

Integration of mental health care and physical health care is coming of age. As the implementation of health reform approaches, there will be increasing emphasis on improving health care and decreasing costs, both well served by integrated care.

Integrating mental health and physical health services can be approached from two directions. The first and more common approach is to provide mental health services in a primary care setting. This approach simplifies mental health referrals by primary care providers because mental health professionals are housed nearby and it reduces the stigma of mental health care because clients are served in a primary care setting.

Moreover, the majority of clients seen in primary care have mental health issues as their main concerns. The second approach is to provide physical health care services in a mental health setting. This approach is more likely to be implemented in mental health clinics serving persons with severe mental illness. Often clients are reluctant to seek physical health care due to limited health information, lack of access to primary care and fear of the unknown. Clients prefer obtaining primary care in their mental health clinic because the setting is familiar, access to primary care is easy, and staff is accustomed to working with them. In this symposium, participants will give case examples of each approach. The first presenter works in two outpatient primary care clinics serving disadvantaged children and their families and will describe his mental health screening and early intervention services. The second presenter works in an outpatient mental health clinic that serves persons with severe mental illness and will discuss how primary care is integrated through health screening, education and primary care services. The presenters will address the role of psychologists in integrated care. Dr. Pat Deleon, authority on health care, will serve as discussant.

Learning Objective 1
Describe two approaches to integrating physical health care and mental health care.

Learning Objective 2
Explain why psychologists are particularly well suited to working in integrated health care settings.

Learning Objective 3
Discuss one benefit of each approach to integrating physical health care and mental health care.

Presenters: Yaron Pruginin, PsyD; Linda M. Richardson, PhD


Supplementary Materials

  • APA 2011 LR
  • APA 2011 Overview
  • APA - YP-DC presentation - handout