Ask any emergency physician finishing a shift if they treated any patients with mental health issues. “Ninety-nine percent of them would say, ‘Yes, I did,’” said Kathleen Walsh, DO, MS, a geriatric medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. “Every shift, guaranteed, you are going to see a patient with a mental health issue, which may be masked or combined with a physical complaint. You have to be prepared.”
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Dr. Walsh is a panelist at “ACEP Connect: Mental Health Patients in Your Department.” The course aims to educate about pediatric/geriatric mental health emergencies as well as crisis stabilization. The other panelists are Abhi Mehrotra, MD, MBA, FACEP, and Vikhyat Bebarta, MD, FACEP.
“Our goal is to give the audience the tools to … empower their emergency department to be a bit more mental health savvy in recognizing issues at both ends of the age spectrum,” Dr. Walsh said. “We will review possible treatment options, crisis management, and considerations for mental health resources.”
Once issues are identified, physicians can work with mental health professionals to provide better care. That’s especially important because the volume of patients with mental health issues in emergency department is not decreasing.
“It is going to increase … because we just do not foresee the funding increasing or enough trained mental health professionals to address the demand,” Dr. Walsh said. “So we are going to be doing a lot of the legwork … and [we will] be their advocates.”
ACEP Connect: Mental Health Patients in Your Department
Sunday, Oct. 29
WCC, Room 150B