A new addition to JFP: “Behavioral Health Consult”



In this month’s issue of The Journal of Family Practice, we are pleased to launch a new department called “Behavioral Health Consult.” This bimonthly column will feature behavioral and mental health topics such as depression, anxiety, obesity, and substance abuse.

Drawn from real patient encounters. As you read the inaugural item on depression, written by Michael Maksimowski, MD, and Michael Raddock, MD, you'll notice that the article starts with a brief case report. Cases will play an important role in this column and will either describe a single patient whom the author(s) cared for or be an amalgam of several (as was the case this month).

Practical and to the point. We have asked the authors, who are family physicians (FPs) and psychiatrists or psychologists who work closely with FPs, to provide a concentrated and practical summary of the elements of diagnosis and treatment that are most important and pertinent to primary care clinicians.

The column will address topics like depression and substance abuse.

Addressing an overwhelming need. The need for FPs and other primary care clinicians to stay current on the management of mental and behavioral health issues is obvious. Mood and anxiety disorders (eg, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia) affect almost 30% of the US adult population1 and many of these patients are seen at least initially by their primary care physicians. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 health risk behaviors—tobacco use, poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, and insufficient exercise—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions.2 My personal experience in our urban Chicago clinic definitely supports these statistics.

No lack of research. I teach several evidence-based medicine courses each year that focus on the review of recent randomized trials and meta-analyses that are important for FPs to know about. Every year, one of my talks is about either mental health or behavioral health research. Every year I wonder whether there will be enough new research to report on, and every year, I find that there is an abundance of research that helps us to better manage these common problems. “Behavioral Health Consult” is this journal’s way of helping to keep you current and informed.

In an effort to make this addition as useful to you as possible, please feel free to email me at with suggestions for topics you would like to see in “Behavioral Health Consult.” We look forward to your reactions—and your comments.

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