One of the hardest referrals for a single practitioner can be to find a psychiatrist for a patient who needs psychiatric medication evaluation and management.   Many primary care providers are willing to prescribe medications for depression and anxiety, but for bipolar and other complex psychiatric issues, a psychiatrist is best prepared to diagnose and prescribe as needed. Sometimes the wait for an appointment is months, when precious time for relief of troubling symptoms is being lost in the meantime.  Presenting at an emergency room can sometimes resolve the situation when in-patient placement needs to be made, but there is also an acute shortage of in-patient psychiatric beds available.

During the past week a chance for networking with Truman Behavioral Health promises to improve accessibility for finding an out-patient appointment with a psychiatrist in a relatively short time.   The shortage of psychiatrists is a national problem.  It is an ironic state of affairs when awareness of mental health issues has been brought to public attention time after time with violence in our schools and throughout our society.  Truman is a teaching hospital that recognizes the vital importance of meeting public health needs, including mental health, in a timely and accessible manner.  It is encouraging to find this referral source.  Finally.