QUALITY: Mental health–any ideas?

I was highly struck by something Dr David Sobel said in his great speech at the Ix Therapy conference last October—he suggested some 50% of primary care office visits are the result of background mental health issues. That sounds intuitively right. After all a British GP once told me that his most frequent symptom was “TATT” (tired all the time”).

Meanwhile I’ve been getting to know a homeless childrens’ organization in San Francisco, which specializes in mental health services for those families. And not surprisingly those kids have issues that result in wide social and health problems later on (but not too much later on) in life.

Then today a reader asked me if there was any evidence on whether more care overall, and specifically more specialty care, would help those with mental illnesses? And whether providing more treatment manages to save money down the line (presumably in other areas).

Mental health has not been an area we spend much time on at THCB, other than perhaps to acknowledge that we over-medicate some populations. But Vic Fuchs did say to me once, “remember, the head is connected to the body”.

So does anyone have any data or conclusions about whether specialty mental health care is a) effective and b) a good investment? Please comment below.

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