Primary care must be the mental health medical home

May 14, 2016    By Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBI

As a primary care physician, my responsibility to my patients goes beyond just caring for their physical well-being. My obligation—professional and ethical—is to treat the whole person and that means attending to their mental health as well.

Mind and body are inseparable. That undeniable truth and its application in medical practice are too often lost. Twenty years ago, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that concluded behavioral healthcare was mostly separated from the country’s primary healthcare system. “Primary care,” it said, “cannot be practiced without addressing mental health concerns, and all attempts to do so result in inferior care.”

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