Mental Health for Primary Care Providers

A Webinar Series on Pharmacotherapy and Diagnostic Considerations

A majority of mental health services in the U.S. is provided by primary health care professionals. An estimated 70-85% of primary care visits have significant psychological or behavioral components, and about 25% of primary care patients have diagnosable mental health disorders (most often anxiety or depression). Patients with mental health conditions are more commonly seen in primary care than in other health care settings, but as much as half of their mental health conditions go undiagnosed.

Over 60% of Virginia’s cities and counties are federally-designated mental health professional shortage areas, so that local mental health resources are exceedingly scarce. In Virginia’s health safety-net clinics (community health centers and free clinics), anxiety and depression are among the top three diagnoses, after hypertension and diabetes.

Acknowledging that most mental health services will continue to be provided in primary care settings, there is a movement to integrate mental health professionals into these settings. Until that longer-term solution can be achieved, the short-term needs of primary care providers currently delivering services need to be addressed. This webinar series was developed by VHCF to provide continuing education for health care professionals who provide primary care to individuals with mental health conditions, and may not have mental health specialists available either onsite or in the community.

Based on the priority needs identified in an April 2013 survey of Virginia’s safety net medical directors conducted by VHCF, two modules were developed: Pharmacotherapy for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care and Diagnostic Considerations for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care. Each module is approximately 1.5-2 hours in length, and the cost to register is $25/webinar.

In addition to physicians, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, other health professionals who may be interested include pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors and registered nurses.  Both webinars are approved for CME credit, and the Pharmacotherapy for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care module also is approved for ACPE credit.

Overall Objectives:

After completing both webinar modules, participants should be able to:

  1. Apply standard screening, diagnostic and clinical practice guidelines when assessing patients with mental health conditions;
  2. Incorporate evidence-based therapeutic guidelines when treating patients with mental health conditions; and,
  3. Integrate appropriate best practices into the clinical care of patients with mental health conditions.

Module I: Pharmacotherapy for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care

Determination of the appropriate selection, use and management of prescription medicines for mental health conditions is challenging to most primary care providers. This activity will enable participants to incorporate evidence-based therapeutic guidelines when treating patients with mental health conditions.

Faculty Presenter: Carla Cobb, PharmD, BCPP: Dr. Cobb is a Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist at RiverStone Health Clinic, a public health agency in Billings, Montana. At RiverStone Health, she consults with primary care providers and patients and works with the Montana Family Residency Program. Dr. Cobb is a clinical faculty member in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana and Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington. On the national level, she is an active member of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (www.cpnp.org) and is a frequent presenter around the country.

This activity is jointly sponsored by University Health Services Professional Education Programs (UHS-PEP) of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, the Virginia Health Care Foundation and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP).

Click here to learn more about and purchase Module I: Pharmacotherapy for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care.


Module II: Diagnostic Considerations for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care.

This activity will facilitate the application of standard screening, diagnostic and clinical practice guidelines when treating patients with mental health conditions.

Presenter: Christopher Kogut, MD, MSW: Dr. Kogut, a former social worker, is board certified in psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, VA. He is also Director of Residency Education in the Department of Psychiatry. At VCU Health System Dr. Kogut is the attending psychiatrist for the Consultation/Liaison Service. In the community, Dr. Kogut volunteers at Fan Free Clinic, and he received its Exceptional Dedication and Service Award in 2013.

Click here to learn more about and purchase Module II: Diagnostic Considerations for Psychiatric Disorders in Primary Care.