For most Americans who seek treatment for issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, navigating the way to mental health care is a challenging endeavor. Why? The dearth of providers, the uncoordinated panoply of practitioners with disparate and confusing titles and qualifications, and the costs of care have created a disorienting health care jungle where untreated mental illness is prevalent. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Integrating mental health care in primary care settings represents the most effective way to seek out individuals in need of care and begin to address the disturbing fact that most people with mental illness don’t receive any care. Software-based video chat and therapy tools can help provide the new infrastructure to make care more efficient for all.
In the coming decades, the most valuable advance emerging from leaders in psychiatry and mental health care likely won’t be a breakthrough in drug development or neuroscience, or training more psychiatrists, but crafting sensible design decisions to create better mental health care systems.
(Stat News by Scott Breitinger, M.D., a resident in psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital|Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City)