Integrating Behavioral Health & Primary Care

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative reports that 30%-50% of referrals from primary care providers to behavioral health specialists never make it, if their physician can get them an appointment at all. However, only 50% of behavioral disorders are treated in a primary care setting, even though researchers have found that a large proportion of those with a behavioral disorder visit a primary care facility at least once a year.


Integrating behavioral health and primary care is a cost-effective way of increasing access to behavioral health services, treatment adherence, and follow-up; addressing mental and physical co-morbidities, recognizing that mental illness and substance abuse can be at the root of physical ailments and vice-versa; and helping to reduce stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), in 2011, “20 million people who needed substance abuse treatment did not receive it and an estimated 10.6 million adults reported an unmet need for mental health care” – many of whom rely heavily on safety net clinics and programs.

For more information on integrating behavioral health and primary care, check out the resources below and in the tab to the right.


In addition to primary care services, patients of Montgomery Cares have access to behavioral health services through the Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health Program (MCBHP), founded in 2001 in response to behavioral health needs observed among Montgomery Cares patients. MCBHP is also administered by the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, MD. Through the MCBHP, bilingual care managers, family support workers, and a part-time consulting psychiatrist form part of the primary care settings’ care team and connect patients with behavioral health problems, including depression, substance abuse, severe mental illness, and domestic violence, among others, with the appropriate services.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email