Patrick Hemming, MD: Using the Mental Health Care Model for Depression in Primary Care


This interview at ACP 2024 featured a discussion with Hemming on the Mental Health Care Model (MHCM) and addressing depression in primary care settings.

During a new interview with the HCPLive editorial team, Patrick Hemming, MD, spoke about the biggest takeaways from his presentation at the 2024 American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine Meeting on addressing mental health needs in primary care settings.

Hemming, known for his work as an associate professor and director of resident education at the Duke Outpatient Clinic in Duke University’s department of medicine, discussed the Mental Health Care Model (MHCM) for depression, its attributes, and the general value of addressing mental health even in primary care.

“My colleague, Bob Smith, who is the author of the textbook on psychiatry in primary care…is the author of the concept that we taught yesterday on the Mental Health Care Model,” Hemming explained. “It's essentially a communications tool for our patients who are experiencing mental health disorders that we see on a daily basis, and gives us a framework for working with, number one, using patient-centered interviewing techniques that help us to recognize and respond to emotional clues that our patients are giving to us.”

Hemming noted that the tool also helps clinicians to respond to such patients empathically, as what is central to any mental health treatment is understanding emotions. Hemming noted that they had gone through 4 steps in the workshop, focusing first on educating patients on how clinicians understand their diagnosis of depression and helping them to understand that treatments exist, that people do recover, and that effective treatments exist.

“We're talking upfront here, as we're making a diagnosis, realizing that it can be hard to do something different,” Hemming described. “Getting people to commit to trying out the thing that we decided together to do, moving from commitment to having goals that are not clinician-centered but patient-centered, around what better looks like for you.”

Hemming also described the value of ending up with a plan for patients regarding medication, as internal medicine physicians frequently prescribe medicine.

“So (Bob and his team) developed this model and tested it in randomized controlled trials, training primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to use these medications and use these counseling techniques and found this works really well,” Hemming explained. “So the goal was to try and simplify a complex task of somebody who has a problem that they're having trouble putting their finger on. We might have a good answer for it.”

For additional information on this presentation, view the full interview segment posted above.

The quotes contained here were edited for clarity. Hemming has no relationships with entities whose primary business is marketing, selling, producing, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

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