Health workers trained in psychology would be a useful addition to new medical homes, doctor says

A family doctor who is part of one of the province’s first medical houses says working with a graduate student in UPEI’s psychology program convinced her that these mental health experts should be on her team.

Dr Shannon Curtis said about half of her patients seek treatment for mental health issues. She was able to refer to the student, who worked one day a week for four months this winter.

The student offered help to patients, including cognitive behavioral therapy.

In at least one case, it changed a patient’s life, resulting in fewer doctor visits, Curtis said.

“He’s going back to work. He’s off EI, so those costs are lower,” she said. “Had he continued on the path he was on, he would undoubtedly have been hospitalized in a mental health facility, probably sooner rather than later, given how he was feeling.”

island morning6:56Valuable mental health professionals at the clinic

Shannon Curtis believes mental health professionals should be part of her team. 6:56

Curtis plans to ask Health PEI. to add a psychologist to his team at Sherwood Medical Centre, one of five medical homes opened about a month ago.

Medical Patient Homes provide team-based care through a model that was developed and endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

The teams in each home include several professionals, each working collaboratively within the team for all of their care.

CBC News has contacted Health PEI about Curtis’ proposal, but has not yet received a comment.

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