Advancing a Primary Care Model That Prioritizes Behavioral Health

This week, Behavioral Healthcare published an opinion piece on the role of behavioral health intervention within the primary care model. The author, Dr. Ed Jones, argues that a new structure for the delivery of primary care is needed, pointing to a number of disturbing statistics including:

  • The 70 percent of primary care visits that can be linked to psychosocial issues; and
  • The lifestyle and behavioral factors that can impact upwards of 50 percent of our well-being (e.g., diet,  exercise, sleep and substance misuse).

Working within the team-based care model, Jones suggests leading with a behavioral health specialist–or, with the “head first,” he quips. By doing so, he writes, “…we might excel at: detecting the psychosocial issues that are motivating office visits; addressing strategies for changing critical health behaviors; and finally, diagnosing and treating unrecognized conditions like depression, anxiety and substance use disorder.”