Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology

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Short Communication - Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology (2021) Volume 5, Issue 1

Texas A&M International Universitys Juntos for Better Health - An integrative approach to behavioural health in an underserved population

 Integrated behavioural health (IBH) represents a paradigm shift for both primary care (PC) and behavioural health (BH) settings. IBH requires a shift towards more routine attention of behavioural health among primary care providers (PCP) and other medically trained staff. Local health data aligns with research data which indicate approximately a third of the general population have a common mental health disorder. Furthermore, upwards to 20% of the general population will seek primary care for BH (mental/substance use) problems. Research supports PCPs deal with patients’ untreated psychological problems – identified or not, taking up PCP time regardless of degree to which problems are explicit focus of practice. Juntos data indicates that 84%-93% of the general population will refuse referrals to BH organizations resulting in high utilizers with unexplained physical symptoms. Furthermore, data indicates patients prefer to receive BH services in PC as it is not perceived as “behavioural healthcare”; thus removing the stigma associated with BH. As a result and in response, the local health organizations such as the local health department, the federally qualified health center, and local mental health authority have adopted the Juntos integrated behavioural health model which employs a highly team-based approach to address behavioural health among clinic patients. This model is employed on-site and with traveling healthcare teams providing services in remote areas of the region. IBH improves identification and treatment of behavioural health problems and chronic disease in the PC setting, generating better health outcomes for patients and decreasing the use of unneeded emergency services.

Author(s): Viviana Martinez-Gomez

Abstract Full Text PDF

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