November 2007 MedBytes: Mental Health

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 With the implementation of the crisis services redesign, the Texas Department of State Health Services aims to improve mental health care in the state while relieving the burden on physicians, law enforcement officials, hospitals, and community mental health centers. Here is a roundup of Web sites with resources physicians can use in caring for patients seeking mental health care.

Texas Medical Association
The Texas Medical Association has tools to help physicians treat patients needing mental health care. From  here , you'll have access to information on postpartum depression counseling for women, commentary on mental health policy, and a guide for primary care physicians who care for children with mental illness. The guide, developed in 2002, has been updated this year. Integrating Child and Adolescent Mental Health Into Primary Care: A Resource Guide for Physicians can be downloaded as a PDF from the Web site. Features include tips for prevention and counseling, guidelines for preventive care, tools for early identification and screening, and case studies on common childhood psychiatric disorders.

American Psychiatric Association
Available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment is the American Psychiatric Association's vision. The specialty organization's Web site,  www.healthyminds.org , is home to a surplus of resources many physicians will find useful. Clicking on Topics at the top of the home page opens a page of links to subjects ranging from Children's Issues to Psychiatric Hospitalization. The Let's Talk Facts brochures are helpful for patients and cover anxiety disorders, choosing a psychiatrist, eating disorders, teen suicide, and other topics. Click on a brochure link to download a PDF. Select Other Resources from the menu at the top of the screen to access helpful hotline numbers, as well as links to other specialty associations, government resources, and nonprofit organizations.

Mental Health America of Texas
Formerly the Mental Health Association in Texas, Mental Health America of Texas,  www.mhatexas.org , is a source for mental health education and advocacy. The site's toolkits are easily downloadable and feature information in Spanish and English. To view "Coming Together to Care: A Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Texas Communities," scroll down the page to the Suicide Prevention heading. From the toolkit's table of contents, you can read chapters on suicide in Texas, understanding suicide, an introduction to taking action, steps to organize your community, best practices for community-based prevention and intervention, guidelines for community education and communication, and evaluating community suicide prevention programs. Directly under the suicide prevention toolkit, you can view the "Child and Adolescent Mental Health Toolkit." Download posters and brochures in English and Spanish, and view the PowerPoint presentation on children's mental health. Contents on the Web site are arranged vertically in blue boxes. Be sure to scroll all the way down so you don't miss anything.

Texas Department of State Health Services
The Community Mental Health section of the Texas Department of State Health Services Web site, www.dshs.state.tx.us/mentalhealth.shtm , houses a wealth of resources for Texas physicians. The Current Initiatives portion of the Web page highlights projects in crisis services, disaster mental health, behavioral health services, and the mental health system transformation. Clicking on each topic will direct you to a separate page with additional details. Featured Resources contains information on mental health and substance abuse training, as well as resources for practitioners that include books, journals, and an extensive video collection. The largest portion of the Web page is reserved for the Index of Community Mental Health Online Resources, which includes community services and contracts; quality management for community mental health; state hospitals; mental health centers, programs, and initiatives; and community news, information, data, and reports.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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