Integrating Mental Health Services into a General Hospital in Puerto Rico
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The prevalence of mental health problems in the general population should be carefully considered. The literature has reported a high co-morbidity of medical and mental illnesses; therefore, collaborative efforts incorporating psychological services into medical settings are imperative. In Puerto Rico, this is not a regular practice in general hospitals. Improving access to mental health services is a challenge and requires the creation of new venues within the healthcare system. This paper describes the theoretical framework, mission, and objectives of the Clinical Psychology Services Program (CPSP) implemented at Damas Hospital in Puerto Rico. From December 2002 to December 2010, a total of 13,580 visits were made to inpatients in diverse clinical units of the hospital; 61 % of all inpatients evaluated met the criteria for at least one mental health disorder based on the DSM-IV-TR. The CPSP’s outcomes highlight the acceptance and relevance of incorporating mental health services and clinical psychologists into general hospitals.
KeywordsClinical Psychology Hospital Integrated Medical setting
The authors wish to thank doctoral students of the Clinical Psychology Program of the Ponce School of Medicine for their enthusiastic support and participation during these eight years. Also, thanks to the administrative staff and health care providers, especially physicians and nurses of the Damas Hospital at Ponce, Puerto Rico. Our special thanks to Dr. Javier Hernández, Dr. Nanet López, Dr. Mary Rodríguez, and Dr. Nydia Ortiz for your valuable support as clinical supervisors during the different stages of the Clinical Psychology Services Program development. Also, a special thanks to Mr. Bob Richie for assisting in the manuscript’s edition.
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