Integrated care is far more than just a new health buzzword. Incorporating mental health into primary care is in fact “a game-changer” according to A. Seiji Hayashi, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources Services Administration. It is a particularly important health issue for our teens.
We’re pleased to see that the American Psychiatric Association has made integrated care a focus of its 165th Annual Meeting being held this week in Philadelphia. A special education track is giving the nation’s mental health professionals the opportunity to learn more about how to better collaborate with primary care providers.
This is not insignificant. Meeting the mental health care needs of youth demands a new set of primary care skills. Primary care providers can benefit from collaboration with mental health professionals to build these skills and bolster their confidence. But, in reality, these professionals have historically had little collaboration. The APA is making an important move to change that.
Most adolescents receive their health care at the primary care office. And while the teen years are often the most physically healthy time of life, mental health concerns are prevalent. More than 11% of U.S. children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant impairment, yet 70% are not identified and do not receive mental health services. Half of all mental disorders emerge by age 14. Left untreated, depression and mental health disorders can lead to decreased school performance, substance abuse, emotional distress, and the potential for suicide.
Stronger collaboration that supports integrated care has the potential to reverse these disturbing trends and make a significant difference in the lives of our youth. Learn more about one state’s innovative program.