Nebraska faces a shortage of mental health practitioners, particularly in rural areas of the state. One of the ways to reduce the barriers of access to mental health in these areas is establishing an on-site mental health professional in primary care clinics.
BHECN hosted a conference in Kearney, Neb. in May on the topic: “Integrating Mental Health and Primary Care.” Thirteen people from 10 different cities in Nebraska attended the conference.
The half-day conference introduced the concept of integrating behavioral health into primary care facilities and elaborated on how to establish the practice.
Presenters included Joe Evans, Ph.D., Holly Roberts, Ph.D., Dr. Roderick O'Handley, and Dr. Kenton Shaffer. Attendees to the event ranged from nurses and therapists to administrators.
There are 41 integrated clinics in Nebraska, including two new clinics being established in Falls City and Humboldt. Both are located in communities considered professional shortage areas by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). These southeastern Nebraska clinics will provide families who usually have to drive many miles to access behavioral healthcare with options closer to home.