Integrating psychiatry and primary care improves acceptability to mental health services among Chinese Americans.Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004 Jul-Aug; 26(4):256-60.GH
The objective of this study was to investigate whether integrating psychiatry and primary healthcare improves referral to and treatment acceptability of mental health services among Chinese Americans. The "Bridge Project," a program to enhance collaboration between primary care and mental health services for low-income Chinese immigrants was implemented at South Cove Community Health Center in Boston. The project consisted of conducting training seminars to primary care physicians to enhance recognition of common mental disorders, using a primary care nurse as the "bridge" to facilitate referrals to the Behavioral Health Department of the same facility, and co-locating a psychiatrist in the primary care clinic to provide onsite evaluation and treatment. The rate of mental health service referrals and successful treatment engagement before and during the project were compared. During the 12-month period of the Bridge Project, primary care physicians referred 64 (1.05% of all clinic patients) patients to mental health services, a 60% increase (chi(2)=4.97, P<.05) in the percentage of clinic patients referred in the previous 12 months. Eighty-eight percent of patients referred during the project showed up for psychiatric evaluation, compared to 53% (chi(2)=15.3, P<.001) in the previous 12 months. Integrating psychiatry and primary care is effective in improving access to mental health services and in increasing treatment engagement among low-income immigrant Chinese Americans.