Mental Health is an Essential Part of Comprehensive Health Care Programs

  • Date: Jan 01 1975
  • Policy Number: 7501

Key Words: Mental Behavioral Health, Health Care

Whereas, it is recognized that better health care for the American people requires a comprehensive approach involving physical, emotional and social factors; and

Whereas, many comprehensive health service programs such as HMOs, Neighborhood Health Centers, and multispecialty group practices now have token mental health services or none at all; and

Whereas, comprehensive health services are facilitated by a family focus in practice and theory, and mental health expertise is helpful in the implementation of such an approach; and

Whereas, many separate mental health delivery systems such as Community Mental Health Centers have shown particular skill in linking to a variety of human service systems; and

Whereas, interrelated planning, education, and delivery of health and mental health services is likely to be more effective in dealing with the large area of overlap between physical and mental health if these services are of broad spectrum, delivered by full or majority time staff, delivered at the same location as part of a multidisciplinary team approach, delivered as part of a partnership, and linked to specialty programs of community mental health centers and health departments, human service systems, and primary, secondary, and tertiary rehabilitative services; and

Whereas, such health/mental health partnership programs may lead to greater accessibility and acceptability of mental health services, improved primary and secondary prevention, enhanced psychosomatic approaches, greater family orientation, better provider coordination, and better manpower utilization; and

Whereas, experience in combined health and mental health care at specific local delivery sites would provide useful data for the planning of a future national health insurance program;

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the American Public Health Association strongly urges continued large-scale development of comprehensive health programs which include mental health services, from whatever sources they originate, with fully coordinated mental health and general health services at the delivery site. Programs at the delivery site can not be recognized as comprehensive health programs unless they include mental health services. It is also recognized that inasmuch as not all important mental health services can be delivered through a comprehensive health program, they must therefore continue to be delivered in independent Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC's), other CMHC forms, and through other human service systems. This partnership of health/mental health programs should receive priority in the planning and development of general health and mental health delivery services.

And Be It Further Resolved that a task force representing the broad interests of the Association be appointed under the direction of the Program Development Board to develop a set of recommendations and guidelines directed toward the effective inclusion of mental health services in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of comprehensive health care.

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