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The Next Step in Integrated Care: Universal Primary Mental Health Providers


Current models of mental health care often do not address three barriers to mental health: the binary view of mental illness (healthy vs. mentally ill), stigma, and prevention. Care models where some patients are selected for referral or consultation with a mental health professional can reinforce this binary view and the stigma associated with seeing mental health services. By only selecting patients who currently are experiencing mental health problems, current integrated care models do not offer sufficient avenues for prevention. To address these barriers, this article proposes building on current models through the development of primary mental health providers (PMHPs). PMHPs—like primary care providers—would provide regular check-ups, assessments, prevention interventions, first-line treatment, or referral to more specialized professionals. This universal approach will help decrease the binary view of mental health, decrease the stigma of seeing a mental health professional through universal access, and improve prevention efforts.

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Williams, A.A. The Next Step in Integrated Care: Universal Primary Mental Health Providers. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 27, 115–126 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09626-2

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  • Integrated care
  • Mental health
  • Prevention
  • Stigma
  • Behavioral health