Doctors, and especially pediatricians and pediatric nurses, may be the first medical professional to notice a child or parent struggling to cope with an injury or illness. In a relatively new model of care, the integrated care model seeks to provide patients and families with both medical and mental health service all under one roof to help patients cope better an injury/illness. Such a model of care can prove very effective, especially for children who may complain of physical symptoms such as head or stomach aches, but may really be experiencing traumatic stress reactions and are unable or unwilling to verbalize their fears and worries. 

To bring this integrative care model of care to patients, Rutger's University psychology graduate psychology students collaborate with physicians at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  Lynn Clemow, clinical associate professor in the medical school’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health explains: “The patients get great evidence-based treatment in their doctor’s office, the psychology students get intense training in a growth area of psychology and the physicians – both residents and faculty – get team-based experience in delivering an expanded range of services for their patients, addressing a lot of unmet needs in the current health care system.” 

After screening patients and families, physicians in the program "do what's called a 'warm handoff", explains graduate psychology student, Jessica Yu.  She goes on to explain this makes the patient more comfortable and doctoral student, David Eddie says providing mental health services as a part of regular medical services helps to reduce stigmas and biases. 

Do you see any additional benefits to integrating medical and mental health services?