Community Care and Public Policy
The largest percentage of mentally disturbed people who receive professional help, about 70 percent, are treated in the primary medical care and outpatient medical sector. Most are seen by office-based primary care physicians or in general hospital outpatient clinics and emergency rooms. Others are treated in the offices of nonprimary care physicians, usually specialists in family practice or internal medicine. Consequently, the majority of people with mental problems are not seen by psychiatrists, nor are they treated in the specialty mental health sector. Instead, they receive care mostly from physicians other than psychiatrists.