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Educating family physicians to care for the chronically mentally ill

, : Educating family physicians to care for the chronically mentally ill. Journal of Family Practice 24(2): 177-183

More than 50 percent of the chronically mentally ill receive their medical, psychiatric, and social support services from primary care physicians in the general health sector. Despite this high level of involvement with these patients, the majority of family physicians consider their training in the management of patients with mental disorders to be inadequate. This paper describes six categories of critical competencies that should be included in the mental health curricula of family physician training programs: therapeutic attitudes and skills, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, functional assessment, psychopharmacology, management of emergencies, and psychosocial treatments. It outlines the manner in which specific competencies could be incorporated in medical school, in family practice residency training, and in postgraduate continuing medical education as well as the specific elements included in each. The discussion is based on the assumption that more effective participation by family physicians in the treatment of chronic psychiatric illness requires active attention throughout the continuum of medical education.


PMID: 2879879

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