How are mental health problems treated in collaborative healthcare?

Collaborative care is an integrated health care model in which physical health and mental health providers partner to manage the treatment of mild to moderate psychiatric disorders and stable severe psychiatric disorders in the primary care setting.

Psychotropic medication (drugs that treat mental disorders) is the most common intervention used to treat mental health problems in the primary care setting. The primary care physician or other qualified staff (e.g., nurse practitioner) prescribes an antidepressant or other appropriate medication, and the care manager monitors the patient's response and adherence to the medication.

Collaborative care models can also include brief evidence based psychotherapy as an intervention. There are several brief evidence-based psychotherapies that have been used in the primary care setting, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem solving therapy. Behavior management and related evidence-based treatments are also options for treating children. These therapies can be conducted by clinical care managers with the appropriate credentials or by a mental health professional.

Psychotherapy and behavior management approaches are particularly important options for children. Depending on the diagnosis, pharmacotherapy may not be the first-line remedy for children, given concerns about the safety and effectiveness of using psychotropic medications with children.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.