A Single Integrated Behavioral Health Appointment Improves Patients’ Perceptions of Behavioral Health Treatment

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Objective: To determine if a single behavioral health appointment in primary care would result in improvements in participants’ perceptions of mental health treatment.

Methods: Survey data from 32 patients seen in a Veterans Affairs medical center primary care clinic were collected (May 2017 to December 2017) before and after a brief appointment with a behavioral health provider. The primary outcome measure was change in pre- to post-session response to 6 items measuring perceptions of treatment taken from the Perceptions About Services Scale-Revised.

Results: The single behavioral health appointment resulted in improved perceptions of behavioral health treatment. Pre- to post-session ratings on 5 of 6 measured variables improved, including the perception that patients would have fewer bothersome symptoms as a result of attending a behavioral health appointment, feeling treatment would be valuable and beneficial, feeling they would have time to spend in treatment, and feeling that behavioral health specialists are understanding (Ps < .05). Patients were highly satisfied with the single integrated behavioral health session. Further, more than two-thirds of patients for whom further treatment was recommended attended a second behavioral health appointment.

Conclusions: This study adds to the growing body of literature on the benefits associated with integrated behavioral health and investigates the potential mechanisms associated with the success of the single appointment.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2019;21(1):18m02378