The online news service Medium.com published “Telepsychiatry is Not Enough” on 6 -22-16. This article reviews statistics about the shortage of psychiatrists in the US, the efforts to expand access to psychiatrist using telehealth, and concerns about how this does not meet the needs of underserved communities.
The author, a psychologist, goes on to suggest three possible strategies to help with the problem:
- Increase screening for mental health problems by non-psychiatrist health care professionals, increase use of technology, such as computer assisted screening inventories, and offer screenings at every medical encounter.
- Improve mental health services provided to “lower-severity” patients, which will often reduce the need for psychiatric care and more intensive mental health services.
- Help patients with mental health problems better manage their problems between visits, such as by providing remote monitoring between visits and helping with self-management skills and supportive resources. Although the author does not mention case management and similar services, this could be an important component for patients with more serious mental health problems.
mhconcierge’s take: The author is the co-founder of a company that provides screening and treatment planning services, so of course he is hoping to promote his company, but his advice is still worth considering. Several of his suggestions could be implemented by non-psychiatrist mental health professionals, and could both help people in need of mental health services and could also expand the practice of non-medical mental health services.