It is difficult to project how one might feel in the discussion prompt scenario if never having experienced such before, but to speculate, I think my first feeling would be that of concern. I would clearly be concerned about myself and my mental health if being referred by my primary care physician. It is unclear, based upon the simplicity of the discussion prompt, as to whether I would be going into the situation having insight or awareness that such was needed or not, but assuming things are going as they are currently, I would feel concerned. If, hypothetically, I went to see my primary care physician experiencing some degree of emotional distress and already thinking such treatment might be helpful, I would probably feel relieved that my primary care physician also recognized such and cared enough to be thorough and make the referral. Not to steer onto someone else as an example, but my family recently experienced a significant death and amidst this, a family member saw her primary care physician who gave her a mental health referral because he felt her symptoms were more grief related. I am highly certain she would not have sought this resource on her own, but because she is focused on her physical health and trusts her provider she went.
Additionally, and maybe more so after the fact, I suspect I might feel relieved that my physician is taking on a whole health approach and is invested in not only my physical health but also my mental health. Knowing or believing that would give me a sense of comfort, and I think I would be inclined to follow up if my primary care physician felt it were necessary or important for my health. From the perspective of a therapist, I can think of numerous times where I have encouraged individuals to follow up with their primary care physician or assisted them to obtain one out of concern for an untreated physical health issue being discussed, and I would like to think that this eagerness to treat the whole individual goes both ways.
In conclusion, as Cigrang, Dobmeyer, Becknell, Roa-Navarrete, and Yerian (2006) pointed out, �60% of primary care medical appointments are associated with MH (mental health) factors,� so it makes sense for primary care physicians to be making behavioral health referrals. If 60% of these appointments are associated with mental health factors, it would stand to reason that these patients would find a higher degree of satisfaction in their care if linked to a resource that has a good probability of treating the issue versus having their physician either ignore or prescribe something that treats symptoms. For example, if I am experiencing untreated major depressive disorder, I am likely to report lethargy, body aches, increased or decreased sleep, lack of appetite or excessive eating, etc. when I present at my primary care physician. My primary care physician could proceed by prescribing something to aid balancing my appetite, something to level out my sleep, and so forth when receiving an anti-depressant and therapy instead might actually end up addressing everything at once.
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