Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 287-308

First online:

Rural Models for Integrating Primary Care and Mental Health Services

  • Donna C. BirdAffiliated withMaine Rural Health Research Center
  • , David LambertAffiliated withMaine Rural Health Research Center
  • , David HartleyAffiliated withDivision of Rural Health, Maine Rural Health Research Center
  • , Peter G. BeesonAffiliated withStrategic and Financial Planning Division, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  • , Andrew F. CoburnAffiliated withEdmund S. Muskie School of Public Service

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This paper presents findings from a study designed to identify and describe models for integrating primary care and mental health services in rural communities. Data were obtained from telephone interviews with staff at rural primary care sites around the country. Findings are based on the responses of 53 primary care organizations in 22 states. The authors identify four integration models—diversification, linkage, referral and enhancement—which appear to exist in combination, rather than as pure types. The proposed analytic framework outlines aspects of integration that are readily amenable to study.