At the second World Congress on Women's Mental Health, held March 17-20 in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the International Association of Women's Mental Health, psychologists, physicians, nurses, academics, social workers and other health-care providers discussed ways to reduce women's stress, approaches to hormone replacement therapy, treatment of eating disorders, concerns of minority women and other topics key to advancing global mental health care for women.
Effectively tackling such issues will take intensive collaboration among health-care professionals across different areas, emphasized a number of conference speakers. At one session, for example, psychologist Susan McDaniel, PhD, of the University of Rochester, shared ways to implement and evaluate psychosocial services in primary-care settings.
"Primary care has become the de facto mental health service, so it makes sense for psychosocial services to be provided there," said McDaniel, a professor of psychiatry. "But that requires collaborative work among physicians and mental health-care workers, which can be a tricky business."
For example, physicians expect to spend five to 15 minutes with a patient, whereas for psychologists, the convention is 50 minutes. Bridging gaps like that, McDaniel said, is important to effective collaboration.
Another speaker, psychologist Andrea Braverman, PhD, of Pennsylvania Reproductive Associates, advised the audience to integrate themselves, through educating colleagues or offering creative scheduling.
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