Improving the integration of mental health services in primary health care at the macro level
Bywood, Petra Teresia
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Mental disorders are highly prevalent in Australia. The most frequently diagnosed conditions are anxiety, affective and substance use disorders. Comorbidities are common, both in terms of concurrent mental health conditions and concurrent physical and mental health conditions. Many individuals with lived experience of mental illness also face a range of non-medical issues (e.g. housing, employment and education needs). Typically, individuals requiring mental health care for most moderate/mild cases are supported in primary health care (PHC), though specialist care in secondary and tertiary settings is required for more severe conditions. Given the multifaceted nature of mental health conditions, support for individuals experiencing such diagnoses also needs to be multidisciplinary and collaborative. PHC mental health services encompass a range of services, including counselling, pharmacological treatments, referrals and follow-up care, provided by health professionals in PHC settings (e.g. general practice) to treat or prevent mental health problems.