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Rollins AL, Wright-Berryman J, Henry NH, Quash AM, Benbow K, Bonfils KA, Hedrick H, Miller AP, Firmin R, Salyers MP. Managing physical and mental health conditions: Consumer perspectives on integrated care. Social work in mental health. 2016 May 13; 15(1):66-79.
Background: Despite the growing trend of integrating primary care and mental health services, little research has documented how consumers with severe mental illnesses manage comorbid conditions or view integrated services. Objectives: We sought to better understand how consumers perceive and manage both mental and physical health conditions and their views of integrated services. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with consumers receiving primary care services integrated in a community mental health setting. Results: Consumers described a range of strategies to deal with physical health conditions and generally viewed mental and physical health conditions as impacting one another. Consumers viewed integration of primary care and mental health services favorably, specifically its convenience, friendliness and knowledge of providers, and collaboration between providers. Conclusions: Although integration was viewed positively, consumers with SMI may need a myriad of strategies and supports to both initiate and sustain lifestyle changes that address common physical health problems.