APR 19, 2018 06:36 AM PDT

Mental Health Care vs. Primary Care

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There is a lot of concern for the mental health care system and getting patients the right kind of help with the right practitioner, but data from the CDC shows that over half of medical visits for depression happen in a primary care setting. The first place most patients will go for care is to their family doctor. The problem is that in a typical primary care setting that doctor might have less than 15 minutes to speak to a patient face to face and in that time they have to evaluate physical symptoms, mental issues, medical history, and navigate the insurance system to make sure care will be covered. It's a lot to do in very little time.

Primary care physicians across the country are asking for more time and more training to better understand mental health. While in the US mental health and physical illness are seen as separate concerns there is a lot of overlap. It's especially true of patients who are dealing with addiction. While alcoholism or drug addiction has a psychological component, there are also physical issues of withdrawal, and other concerns and the care these patients need is more complex than what can be provided in a 15-minute office visit.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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