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“Every patient, every person, must have a comprehensive personal care plan, that addresses the whole person.  That includes all of their problems and concerns and resources and fears and experiences, and essentially, incorporates into that those factors such that you've got a coherent plan for health…that makes use of all of that.  So that if there are mental diagnoses, if there are chronic diseases, if there are acute problems, prevention needs, all of those are understood in the context of each other; a whole person plan of care.”

These remarks by Frank DeGruy, MD, NIAC Chair,  were part of the Mental Health Forum and Town Hall Meeting at the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference. This Forum featured national experts on integrated healthcare, including several members of the National Integration Academy Council (NIAC) who discussed policy, research, and the state of the field related to integrating behavioral health and primary care.  

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Mental health problems are very prevalent in our country as nearly 26 percent of the total population in a given year suffers from a mental health problem (common ones like depression and anxiety, as well as serious ones like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Many more people suffer from mental health problems than heart disease or cancer. In addition, most mental health conditions go untreated and often cause other problems.