Session: Social Work's Role in Primary Health Care: Maximizing Capacity for Optimal Mental Health Care (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

329 Social Work's Role in Primary Health Care: Maximizing Capacity for Optimal Mental Health Care

Sunday, January 20, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Golden Gate 8, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Health (H)
Rachelle Ashcroft, PhD, University of Toronto and Toula Kourgiantakis, PhD, University of Toronto
Strong primary health care systems are a foundation for strong health care systems and health equity. Social workers are increasingly being integrated as members of interprofessional primary health care teams in the USA, Canada, and New Zealand. Interprofessional teams are equipped to address the increasingly complex social, mental, and health issues managed in primary health care settings. As part of an interprofessional primary health care team, social work is in an excellent position to help identify and treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Success in achieving quality of care and desirable health outcomes, is linked to how well the social work role is understood and integrated within primary health care.

This roundtable session will begin a dialogue about the barriers and facilitators of integrating social work in primary health care settings. Presenters will focus particular attention on social work's scope of practice in mental health care, emphasizing common mental disorders like depression and anxiety. For example, one presenter will lead the dialogue highlighting key elements found in the literature that outline social work's scope of practice in primary mental health care. A second presenter will review challenges experienced by social workers in the provision of quality mental health care including: difficulties meeting high service demands, access, preparedness, professional isolation, intersectoral collaboration, and demonstrating value with existing performance indicators. Presenters will then lead a discussion to brainstorm how social work can mobilize to help foster better integration into primary health care settings, and be better equipped to respond to the demands of mental health care.

The intention of the roundtable dialogue is to generate a more robust understanding of the scope of practice and challenges social workers encounter in primary mental health care. Further, this roundtable aims to help foster a network of social workers engaged in primary health care scholarship and research.

See more of: Roundtables