[Shared Mental Health Care: New approaches to collaboration between mental health and primary care providers.].
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Over the last five years, increasing attention has been paid to ways of improving collaboration between mental health and primary care services (shared mental health care). This reflects a growing recognition of the significant role that family physicians already play in handling mental health problems of Canadians in almost every community across the country and the need to improve the working relationships between mental health and primary care services. This paper reviews the impact of these factors and looks at how the concept of shared care has evolved in Canada. It describes initiatives taking place across the country, focusing in detail on one program in Hamilton, Ontario, that has brought counsellors and psychiatrists into primary care settings for the last eight years. It looks at lessons that can be learned from this approach, the opportunities it offers and its applicability to other communities.
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