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Primary care is often the first point of contact for people presenting with mental health or addiction issues.
As a GP or nurse in a busy practice environment, what can you do to help?
Brief interventions can be provided for people with mild to moderate mental health and addiction problems. Te Pou has developed Te Hikuwai: Resources for wellbeing to support the capacity and capability of primary care services to deliver brief and effective interventions to people presenting with early and mild to moderate signs of mental health and/or addiction problems.
This page provides background information about brief interventions and the evidence base to support this approach.
Brief interventions are suitable for people with mild to moderate levels of problems, whereas people with more severe or complex problems are referred to specialist services (Matua Raki, 2012).
Brief intervention, as discussed here, refers to first responses to people presenting at lower levels of stepped care. This differs from brief therapy which refers to the targeted, higher intensity interventions that can be delivered at higher levels of stepped care.
Brief interventions appropriate for use in primary health care settings commonly include:
Evidence shows that brief interventions for anxiety and depression are effective during the emerging stages of people's mental distress. There is also strong evidence to support the use of brief interventions for people with alcohol use problems, and the use of opportunistic screening and referral to treatment for common mental health and addiction issues among adults (SAMHSA, 2011).