In This Issue: Advancements in VA Primary Care
Improving Primary Care Anxiety Treatment Engagement and Effectiveness
Takeaway: This project addresses a critical need for evidence-based anxiety interventions that are feasible within VA’s Primary Care-Mental Health Integration setting for Veterans experiencing anxiety who prefer to be treated in primary care rather than a mental healthcare setting.
Many VA primary care patients experience anxiety symptoms that impair their quality of life, but treatment rates are low, and any treatment provided is usually pharmacological despite most patients preferring behavioral treatment. VA Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI), in which mental health clinicians provide brief treatment in the primary care setting, can bridge the gap between demand for – and availability of effective anxiety treatment. However, brief behavioral anxiety interventions suitable for use in the PC-MHI setting are needed to address a gap in VA treatment options.
This ongoing HSR&D study (April 2017 – March 2022) will develop, refine, and evaluate a brief transdiagnostic intervention for anxiety (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and adjustment-related anxiety) that will be acceptable to Veterans and feasible for PC-MHI providers. Investigators are:
This project addresses a critical need for evidence-based anxiety interventions suitable for the PC-MHI setting for Veterans experiencing anxiety who prefer to be treated in primary care. Attending to Veterans' treatment preferences will enhance the acceptability of treatment—and incorporating PC-MHI provider feedback regarding implementation challenges will improve the feasibility of delivery.
Principal Investigator: Robyn L. Shepardson, PhD, is an HSR&D Career Development Awardee and part of the Center for Integrated Healthcare at the Syracuse VA Medical Center in Syracuse, NY.
Shepardson R, Buchholz L, Weisberg R, and Funderburk J. Psychological interventions for anxiety in adult primary care patients: A review and recommendations for future research. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. March 2018; 54:71-86.