Department of Acute and Chronic Care, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Mental disorders are the leading cause of non-communicable disability worldwide. Insufficient numbers of psychiatrically trained providers and geographic inequities impair access. To close this treatment gap, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the integration of mental health services with primary care. A new innovative online program is presented that increases access to mental health education for primary care nurse practitioners in designated mental health professional shortage areas. To create successful and sustainable change, an overlapping three-phase strategy is being implemented. Phase I is recruiting and educating primary care nurse practitioners to become competent and certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Phase II is developing partnerships with state and local agencies to identify and support the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner education and clinical training. Phase III is sustaining integrated mental health care services through the development of nurse leaders who will participate in interdisciplinary coalitions and educate future students.
Keywords: Distance education, Educational models, Integrated health care systems, Mental health services, Nurse practitioners, Psychiatric nursing.
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