December 5, 2014 – Primary Care and Mental Health


Anchor lead: Primary care physicians must help identify and manage mental health problems, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Mental health problems are a big problem that just keeps getting bigger, large studies demonstrate.  Constantine Lyketsos, chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview, says mental health professionals agree that the only way to get help to those who need it is to engage primary care physicians in the process.

Lyketsos: Right now one of the biggest unmet needs in primary care is for the detection and effective management of the increasingly common mental health problems.  Behaviors that are out of control, like obesity, common addictions like smoking, or alcoholism but now more and more prescription drug uses, chronic depression, as well as more severe mental illness.  And we don’t have a model right now where we can provide care for these conditions within the setting of primary care.   :32

Lyketsos proposes a model to facilitate mental health management in primary care, and notes that people shouldn’t be surprised at mental health questions in this setting.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.