Improving Mental Health Training for Primary Care Residents: A Resident-Led Educational Intervention

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Objective: Psychiatric training in family medicine residency programs is necessary but not always sufficient. A brief educational intervention was designed to help improve family medicine residents’ knowledge, comfort, and attitudes in delivering mental health care.

Methods: A 6-hour didactic curriculum was taught by 2 psychiatry residents to family medicine residents between February and April 2015. Preintervention and postintervention surveys assessed participant demographics, knowledge, comfort levels, and attitudes regarding treating patients with psychiatric illness. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize results. Relationships between the sessions attended and preintervention and postintervention knowledge, comfort, and attitudes were investigated.

Results: Of 24 eligible residents, 15 completed each of the surveys preintervention and postintervention. Psychiatric knowledge scores were similar in the preintervention (mean score = 70%, SD = 15%) and postintervention (mean score = 69%, SD = 16%) groups. A significant positive correlation emerged between the number of didactic sessions attended and postintervention comfort levels (Spearman rank correlation coefficient: ρ = 0.61, P = .02). The number of sessions attended was also positively associated with postintervention knowledge scores, although this did not reach statistical significance (ρ = 0.40, P = .16). No relationship emerged between the number of sessions attended and participant attitudes (F2,12 = 1.88, P = .19).

Conclusions: A brief, resident-led educational intervention positively impacted family medicine residents’ comfort in managing patients with psychiatric comorbidities. Further research is needed to establish the sustainability of gains and the impact of such educational interventions on patient care outcomes.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2017;19(6):17m02210