The Mental Health ECHO Project will use the ECHO model to enhance primary care providers' abilities to recognize and appropriately respond to their patients who live with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and serious mental illnesses (SMI). Primary care providers throughout Idaho will have access to twice-monthly Mental Health ECHO trainings, a toolkit of mental healthcare resources, and access to a referral network for their patients with SEDs and SMIs.
The goal of the project is to increase the ability of primary care providers to 1) better recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders (particularly SMIs and SEDs) and employ crisis de-escalation techniques, 2) provide primary care providers education about the community resources available for individuals with mental disorders, and 3) establish a referral system so primary care providers are able to direct patients to appropriate services.
The following objectives have been created to achieve this goal:
1) Throughout the three-year project period, an interdisciplinary mental healthcare panel of experts will conduct mental health training sessions twice monthly to help primary care providers recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, with special focus on SMIs and SEDs. A total of 20 trainings will take place in Year 1, 22 in Year 2, and 22 in Year 3 for a total of 64 trainings throughout the project period. Nine (9) of these trainings will focus specifically on de-escalation techniques.
2) Train a minimum of 50 primary care providers in Year 1, 75 primary care providers in Year 2, and 75 primary care providers in Year 3 for a total of 200 unduplicated primary care providers receiving training during the project period.
3) Build a directory of community resources by region of at least 25 mental health service agencies and resources; a toolkit that includes 20 screening assessments, checklists, and other tools; and 64 PowerPoint slides and video recordings of trainings.
4) Establish two referral mechanisms for primary care providers to use to direct their patients to appropriate services.
Because the trainings are conducted via videoconferencing, this project is well-suited to overcome scarce resources, specifically the time and money required for primary care providers to leave their practices to attend trainings, often held in urban centers or out of state.
By using videoconferencing technology, primary care providers can participate in trainings from their practices in their own communities. This project is designed to benefit Idaho's general population including minority groups such as veterans, refugees, Latinos, and Native Americans.