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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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Sandycurt smithnadalDanTerry McLeod Recent comment authors
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Sandy
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Sandy

Health care sector has been growing rapidly and estimated to be worth. The health inequities we see in the world are absolutely dramatic in their scale.
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Sandy
Washington Alcohol Addiction Treatment

curt smith
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curt smith

hi
i like your site
curt smith
WashingtonDrugTreatment

nadal
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nadal

Managing mental health is a big problem; there is only less way available to manage it. Particularly, affecting children mentally is seems to be a big problem
Thanks
-Nadal-
Drug Alcohol Rehab
Drug Alcohol Rehab

Dan
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Dan

The most prescribed class of medications in this country is antidepressants, so it comes as no suprise that doctors of multiple specialties likely are utilizing these meds for thier patients.

Terry McLeod
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Terry McLeod

Even as a layman I can say it’s absurd to suggest mental health treatment be ignored or even that it’s less important than physical health treatment. The two work together. The good news is that tools to measure outcomes are exploding right now. This revolution is taking place within treatment facilities, and treatment professionals are designing the workflows and content. HIPAA and 42CFR seem pretty effective in ensuring privacy in this industry, and we’re even learning how to live within these dictates with consumer portals to their own mental health and public health information. The current breakthrough involves electronic sharing… Read more »

Dr. John Grohol
Guest

Yes, real burdens, real costs, and reflecting the attitude here, just as in society, overlooked by virtually everyone associated with healthcare. “Every year, about 20 percent of U.S. adults and children have a mental disorder. Despite an array of effective known treatments, the majority of those with mental disorders do not receive treatment and thus needlessly suffer from distress and disability. Mental disorders are highly disabling, ranking second only to cardiovascular conditions as a leading cause of worldwide disability by the World Health Organization (Murray & Lopez, 1996). Moreover, these disorders impose substantial cost burden to patients, their families, and… Read more »

SS
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SS

With his comment: “This country desperately needs treatment access for mental health, but we can’t even provide enough money for all our physical health needs. We’d rather pay for crime scene cleanup crews to look after mental health neglect.” Peter, above, seems to beleive all of us with mental illness are also criminals. Not so. Yes, we desperately need mental health care/coverage in this country. And, I agree that physical and mental health and healhcare cannot be separated. It’s kind of rhetorical to ask–and say–that providing mental health care would reduce for chonic mental illness would reduce expenditures on acute… Read more »

Steve Beller, PhD
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Yes, mental health is more important than most realize. As discussed on this link, “biopsychosocial healthcare” is the integration of biomedical and psychological (mental, behavioral) healthcare. It is an integrated mind-body healthcare approach appropriate for many patients, which that leads to lower overall healthcare expenditures, better treatment outcomes, and enhanced patient satisfaction and well-being for four main reasons: > Up to half of all primary care physicians’ cases are either accompanied by, or constitute, psychological problems. > Psychological problems cause, exacerbate, or impede healing of many physical illnesses. > Psychological treatment helps remedy many physical problems and thus reduces overall… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

This country desperately needs treatment access for mental health, but we can’t even provide enough money for all our physical health needs. We’d rather pay for crime scene cleanup crews to look after mental health neglect.

Hamish MacDonald
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Hamish MacDonald

FWIW, Regarding Mental Health and Health IT: The big challenge in this age of increasing HIT is how to integrate mental health with “the body” as it were. Just in case you missed this last December, David Williams interviewed Dr. Kolodner (National Coordinator for Health Information Technology). http://www.healthbusinessblog.com/?p=1562 Dr. Kolodner originally worked in the US Veteran Affairs department, where he was the Head of Health IT and electronic medical records. Before that he was involved in Health IT and Mental Health. (Psychiatric residency at Washington University School of Medicine). Dr. Kolodner said the following two key challenges are quite different… Read more »