The relationship between behavioral health and primary care is abundantly clear among the military personnel and veterans who have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF). While the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have been pioneers in integrated healthcare, the needs of these returning warriors have served as further impetus for the development and expansion of a collaborative care system.

A short Veterans Health Administration presentation titled "Providing Mental Health Care in the Patient Aligned Care Team: Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Becomes Part of the Interdisciplinary Pact" shares stories of veterans who have been successfully treated for mental health conditions using some of the principles of integrated behavioral health and primary care services. View the slides to learn more!

Integration of Behavioral Health in Primary Care, a presentation made at the 2010 Military Health Conference, provides an overview of the benefits of the collaborative care model for use in the military system of care.

The Center for Integrated Healthcare (CIH)  was established by the VA to improve the health of Veterans by improving the screening and treatment of mental health and substance abuse problems in the primary care setting.  The integration of behavioral health services into the primary care setting is a viable and efficient way of ensuring that Veterans have access to needed services.  Mental health care delivered in the primary care setting can also help to reduce stigma and improve access to care. Co-located collaborative care (CCC), a model of integrated primary care where mental health providers work side-by-side with medical primary care providers is the primary focus for the VA.