University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Primary Care/Family Medicine


Aviva G. Asnis-Alibozek, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA


Primary Care Management of the Next Pandemic: Mental Illness


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to discuss and encourage effective mental health management modalities in the primary care setting. This issue is critical due to the projected increase in psychiatric diagnoses status post the COVID-19 crisis, which may create a subsequent pandemic of mental illness.

Method: A PubMed literature search was conducted utilizing the search terms cognitive behavioral therapy in primary care, mental health in chronic diseases, and mental health management in primary care. Nineteen pertinent articles were retrieved and utilized for clinical review.

Results: Availability of cognitive behavioral therapy immediately upon diagnosis in the primary care setting has the ability to greatly improve initial management of mental illness. There is an increasingly unmet need for raising awareness of primary care psychiatric evaluation and treatment modalities. There can be great improvement in chronic physical disease states with proper evaluation and treatment of mental disorders. This reduction in both mental illness and chronic disease may reduce the immense burden on our country’s healthcare system.

Conclusion: Due to the current state of the world in a global pandemic, it is imperative that primary care settings focus on the future of mental health treatment and initiating effective treatment mechanisms for suspected mental illness upon initial evaluation. It is essential to identify mental states of every patient upon contact and during discussion of chronic disease management, as well as to have adequate access to a collaborating behavioral therapist. A consideration for the future of primary care provider education is to enhance skills in cognitive behavioral therapy to be able to initiate and stabilize the patient while awaiting specialist input and consultation.

Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health Management in Primary Care, Chronic Diseases and Mental Health, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, COVID-19 and Mental Health.


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