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Primary care

Primary care clinics are critical connections for identifying children with mental health needs and referring them to services and treatment. Integrating children’s mental health with primary care recognizes the close connection between the mind and body. Sleeping, eating, substance abuse, self-injury and other physical problems are sometimes symptoms of possible mental health concerns.

Professional associations, providers, health plans and state agencies promote the use of shared care models between psychiatrists and other mental health providers and primary care providers, such as pediatricians and family practice providers. DHS is active in the following clinical, financial and structural approaches to integrate children’s mental health into primary care settings:

  • Increasing the capacity of primary care providers to recognize and address common mental health conditions through training and consultation
  • Incorporating physical health screening methods and health promotion concepts into statewide training for new case managers
  • Promoting professional and physical models of co-location
  • Assisting with development of behavioral health homes to coordinate delivery of behavioral health services for adults
  • Developing billing mechanism for mental health screenings
  • Establishing financial incentives in managed care contracts to perform screenings
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