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Keywords:

  • Mental health;
  • primary care;
  • integration of mental health and primary care

Background:  There is a severe shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs) in the United States, an increasingly recognized high prevalence of mental disorders in young people, and widely supported goals to provide more mental health services in the primary care setting.

Method:  A number of innovative, state-wide or more local, publically funded programs have been developed in the United States over the last several years to respond to these challenges and to provide CAP consultation to primary care physicians (PCPs) who wish to address the mental health disorders of their patients in the primary care setting.

Results:  A number of these programs and their approaches to consultation are described. An example of a clinical scenario that might be addressed using this model of CAP/PCP collaboration is offered.

Conclusions:  An innovative model of consultation to PCPs from CAPs appears able to facilitate the treatment of many young people with mental health disorders in the primary care setting.