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Collaboration is Key to Meeting Demand for Mental Health Services

  • August 11, 2022
  • APA Leadership, What APA is Doing For You

The COVID-19 pandemic has left in its wake a serious mental health crisis, the scope of which is still evolving. Even before the pandemic, demand for mental health care services was extremely high, and increasing by the day. Now, as lockdowns have ended and many pandemic restrictions have lifted in America, COVID is still putting a strain on health care personnel, and the systems they work in. In addition to laying bare the severity of healthcare disparities in our communities, the pandemic has also focused a spotlight on the seriousness of the mental health care shortage in America. In the face of these mounting challenges and unprecedented need, it is clear that the future of mental health care in our country will require an interdisciplinary approach.

Working as part of a team doesn’t mean ceding one’s role in treating a patient’s mental health to someone else, but rather working with others toward the best possible outcome for the patients we serve. Psychiatrists, psychiatric-mental health nurses, including RNs and APRNs (PMH-CNSs and PMH-NPs), psychologists, clinical social workers, and primary care physicians (PCPs) all have an important role to play in patient care. Working together as part of a team, we as professionals from different disciplines can leverage our strengths to support the total health of patients and achieve better outcomes.

For some, a team-centered approach is a radical shift from their past or current approach to care delivery. Yet to advance the mental health of our nation, it is imperative that all mental health care professionals are prepared and empowered with the practical tools and innovation we need to help reshape the mental health landscape to meet the needs of every American.

Since its inception in 1949, The Mental Health Services Conference(MHSC) has been an interdisciplinary and interactive meeting in which professionals from all corners of the mental health world, including physicians, clinical social workers, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and patient advocates, have worked together on addressing the common issues we face. The theme for this year’s meeting, Facing our Future Together, was developed with this rich history of collaboration in mind. The intimate setting and collaborative atmosphere of the 2022 fall MHSC will be a perfect environment for fostering discussions of team-based care and working on practical solutions to real-world challenges.

The Mental Health Services Conference program is designed to give today’s clinicians the tools they need to work effectively as part of a care team and help them integrate the latest research and treatment strategies into their everyday practice, no matter what their familiarity with collaborative and other team-based care models is.

If you’re interested in working across disciplines to improve community collaboration and change the face of mental health care in America, we invite you to join us in Washington, D.C. this Oct. 13-14 at the Mental Health Services Conference to see some of these ideas in action. The exchange of knowledge and ideas and sharing of lived experiences by attendees is so valuable as we work to implement bold, innovative strategies to improve mental health care. By working together on behalf of our patients, we can make our world a better, healthier place.

American Psychiatric Association's The Mental Health Services Conference, Oct. 13-14, 2022, Washington, D.C.
  • Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D.,
    American Psychiatric Association
  • Leslie G. Oleck, M.S.N., PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, LMFT,
    American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • Frank C. Worrell, Ph.D.,
    American Psychological Association
  • Mildred C. Joyner, D.P.S., M.S.W., LCSW,
    National Association of Social Workers

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