Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Federal Agency Head Knows Both Sides of MH Care

Recently named as director of the federal government's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W., said that prominent on his agenda is strengthening the increasingly important connections between the primary care and mental health care sectors so that the high somatic comorbidity of mental and physical illness can be better addressed. In an interview with Psychiatric News soon after he took over the reins at CMHS, an agency of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, del Vecchio said that CMHS will give grants to programs that are trying various approaches to linking mental health care and general medical care. He emphasized as well his plans to expand CMHS's focus on developing programs in trauma-focused care, saying, "We want to look upstream to prevent trauma in the first place as a means to prevent behavioral health disorders from the start." Early intervention can lead to less disability and distress in the long run, he said.

Prior to his long career in mental health care in the private and public sectors, del Vecchio described another type of insider experience he had with mental health care. He told Psychiatric News that his background includes a long period as a youth and young adult when he clearly needed mental health care, including for alcohol and drug use, but spent decades avoiding it, fearful of the stigma that came with getting help for such problems.

Read more about del Vecchio's background and plans for CMHS in Psychiatric News.

(image: CMHS)


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.