Rationale and objectives: Mental health is one of the leading causes of morbidity worldwide. Its impact in terms of cost and loss of productivity is considerable. Improving the efficiency of mental health care system has thus been a high priority for decision makers. In the context of current reforms that privilege the reinforcement of primary mental health care and integration of services, this article brings new lights on the role of general practitioners (GPs) in managing mental health, and shared-care initiatives developed to deal with more complex cases. The study presents a typology of GPs providing mental health care, by identifying clusters of GP profiles associated with the management of patients with common or serious mental disorders (CMD or SMD).
Methods: GPs in Quebec (n = 398) were surveyed on their practice, and socio-demographic data were collected.
Results: Cluster analysis generated five GP profiles, including three that were closely tied to mental health care (labelled, respectively: group practice GPs, traditional pro-active GPs and collaborative-minded GPs), and two not very implicated in mental health (named: diversified and low-implicated GPs, and money-making GPs).
Conclusion: The study confirmed the central role played by GPs in the treatment of patients with CMD and their relative lack of involvement in the care of patients with SMD. Study results support current efforts to strengthen collaboration among primary care providers and mental health specialists, reinforce GP training, and favour multi-modal clinical and collaborative strategies in mental health care.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.