This project sought to develop better links between family physicians and mental health providers (psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses) by facilitating the delivery of mental health care in family physicians’ offices. Mental health care was shared among three psychiatrists, 24 family physicians, three mental health nurses, and one psychologist. The study found that participating family physicians were more effective and confident in dealing with mental health issues and were better able to recognize, diagnose, and treat patients with mental health problems. They also spent more time counselling patients and seemed to prescribe psychotropic medications more appropriately. Patients also were satisfied, saying they appreciated the convenience, accessibility, and lack of mental health stigma when treated in their doctor’s office.
The full report for this project is available on the Alberta Health and Wellness web site at http://www.health.gov.ab.ca/system/key/phc/projects/Calgary/SharedMentalHealth/description.htm
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.