Iowa psychologist creates network among pediatricians, family doctors to expand mental health services statewide
Medical practices across Iowa can now enroll for free in the Psychiatric and Behavior Health Consultation (PBHC) program.
AKENY, Iowa – More than 60% of rural Americans live in areas where there are not enough mental health providers. Warren Phillips, clinical director at Central Iowa Psychological Services in Ankeny, says it’s a big problem in Iowa and across the country.
“It is estimated that by 2025, [the US] 250,000 mental health professionals will be short at that point,” Phillips said.
That’s why Phillips wants to make mental health care more accessible, especially for those who live in rural areas. He has already started a program called Psychiatric and Behavior Health Consultation (PBHC), which health care providers can enroll in to give Iowans access to these much-needed services.
The program is funded by a regional grant, so providers can register online for free.
“Help families connect with local health resources in their area and make that process of connection as fluid and as fast as possible,” Phillips said.
To do that, Phillips’ team in downtown Iowa will consult medical practices across the state to make them better equipped to deal with behavioral problems.
“They can get in touch and schedule a consultation. It can be a one-on-one consultation between the pediatrician and one of our mental health professionals,” Phillips explained.
The program also provides referrals to telecare so that distance is not a barrier to people seeking help. That means a doctor’s patient can visit one of their psychological therapists directly via telehealth.
“The research with telehealth services is quite clear. [It’s] as effective as face-to-face services,” said Phillips.