Mental Health in Crisis

September 14, 2023

One in five Americans over the age of 18 is estimated to experience mental illness1, and rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among children continue to rise. Although the majority of patients experiencing mental illness do eventually receive treatment, barriers to care result in an average treatment delay of over a decade.2 Additionally, some 47% of Americans live in a mental health workforce shortage area,3 reflecting a growing crisis in both the number of individuals experiencing mental health challenges and their ability to access care.

Non-psychiatrist physicians are often the first point of contact that patients encounter in seeking help but physicians from specialties outside of mental health may not feel equipped to help their patients access the necessary treatment. ISMIE is here to provide you with the tools to educate yourself and identify the resources available to help your patients access care.

Explore different models for how your practice can collaborate with behavioral health professionals, potential benefits to patient care and physician workload, and the possible challenges and barriers you may face.

Telemedicine can be another tool to increase access to mental healthcare for patients in underserved areas. Patients can connect remotely to mental health professionals located outside of their region, and on a schedule that may easier accommodate their work, school, or family obligations. ISMIE’s resource on telemedicine can help you get started on integrating telemedicine into your practice and offers key risk management considerations for doing so.

Physicians are on the front lines in battling this ongoing mental health crisis. With continuing education, you can increase your comfort level in guiding your patients to the mental health care they need.

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