Encouraging and sustaining integration of child mental health into primary care: interviews with primary care providers participating in Project TEACH (CAPES and CAP PC) in NY

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014 Nov-Dec;36(6):555-62. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2014.05.013. Epub 2014 May 21.


Objective: Project Training and Education for the Advancement of Children's Health (TEACH) provides training, consultation and referral support to build child and adolescent mental health (MH) expertise among primary care providers (PCPs). This study describes how TEACH engages PCP, how program components lead to changes in practice and how contextual factors influence sustainability.

Method: Thirty PCPs randomly selected from 139 trained PCPs and 10 PCPs from 143 registered with TEACH but not yet trained completed semistructured interviews. PCP selection utilized purposeful sampling for region, rurality and specialty. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using grounded theory.

Results: PCP participation was facilitated by perceived patient needs, lack of financial and logistic barriers and continuity of PCP-program relationships from training to ongoing consultation. Trained PCPs reported more confidence interacting with families about MH, assessing severity, prescribing medication and developing treatment plans. They were encouraged by satisfying interactions with MH specialists and positive feedback from families. Barriers included difficulties implementing screening, time constraints, competing demands, guarded expectations for patient outcomes and negative impressions of the MH system overall.

Conclusions: Programs like TEACH can increase PCP confidence in MH care and promote increased MH treatment in primary care and through collaboration with specialists. Sustainability may depend on the PCP practice context and implementation support.

Keywords: Child; Integration; Mental health care delivery; Primary care provider training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Psychiatry / education*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services
  • Child Psychiatry / education*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Primary Care / education*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Qualitative Research