NCCBH members primarily serve public sector consumers, those with severe and persistent mental illness or serious emotional disturbance-the needs of this population are often overlooked in primary care and integration planning. We must assure that their needs as well as the needs of the broader community are appropriately addressed.
Many people in the broader community now receive their behavioral healthcare in a primary care setting, and the gap between the medical and behavioral healthcare systems must be bridged: As noted by Robin Dea and many other commentators, there is:
“evidence that many, if not most, people coming into primary care are being treated for psychosocial problems, not organically based medical disease . . . evidence of medical cost offsets from treating behavioral health problems presenting as physical health problems in the primary care setting . . . the assumption that if adequate detection of early stage psychiatric illness took place in primary care, there would be some prevention of patients going to more severe episodes of major psychiatric illnesses . . . and primary care is where most people who have behavioral health problems are in fact seen.”