Severe mental illness affects a significant number of people and, if left untreated, leads to poor quality of life and disability. Many of the aspirations proposed for new models of care assert that better preventative services, closer integration between professionals, and increased access to cognitive behavioural therapy in primary care will bring substantial benefits and improved outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits of integrating mental health services into primary care, and improving collaboration between secondary services and primary care. There is a transition underway in healthcare whereby a focus on illness is being supplemented with, or refocused towards achieving better patient well-being. New approaches to service provision are being proposed that: focuses on more holistic outcomes; integrates services around the user; and employs innovative system techniques to incentivise professional and organisational collaboration. Such a transition must be inclusive of those with mental health needs managed in primary care and for those people with serious mental illness in secondary care.
This paper discusses the issues of professional collaboration and the need to provide mental healthcare in a continuous and coordinated manner and; how this may improve timely access to treatment, early diagnosis and intervention. Importantly, it is essential to consider the limitations and reality of recent integration initiatives, and to consider where the true benefit of better integrating mental health into a more collaborative system may lie.
Identifying and addressing issues of parity is likely to call for a new approach to service provision that: focuses on outcomes; co-designs services integrated around the user; and employs innovative contracting techniques to incentivise provider integration.
There is a transition underway in healthcare whereby a focus on illness is being supplemented with or refocused towards working towards wellness. Such a transition requires primary care mental health services to be provided in a continuous and coordinated manner in order to meet the health needs of people with serious mental illness.
It discusses the issues of professional collaboration and how this may improve timely access to treatment, early diagnosis and intervention. It is essential to consider the limitations and reality of recent integration initiatives, and to consider where the true benefit may lie.
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