Behavioral Health Service Provision by Primary Care Physicians

Authors: Angela Beck, PhD, MPH | Cory Page, MPH, MPP | Jessica Buche, MPH, MA | Victoria Schoebel | Caitlyn Wayment

Topics: Behavioral Health, Primary Care

Research Center: Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center

December 19, 2019

A large percentage of patients experiencing behavioral health issues seek help in primary care settings. Most are discharged without receiving behavioral health treatments. Furthermore, roughly half of all care for common psychiatric disorders is provided in primary care settings, and patients are often more open to discussing mental health concerns with their primary care physicians. With an increasing demand for behavioral health care, integration of primary care and behavioral health may be a promising method to increase patient access to quality behavioral health care.

Research has largely focused on the benefits of integration and how to facilitate it, rather than on physicians’ experience with providing behavioral care to patients. This report helps to understand the level of preparedness of primary care providers to handle the behavioral health needs of their patients.

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