An expert in anxiety disorders visits Southern Miss

By Sheri Falk – bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The founder and director of the Boston University Center for Anxiety Disorders, Dr. David Barlow is in the Hub city, to share some of his expertise and research with Psychology students at Southern Miss.

Barlow, a distinguished scholar has authored more than 500 articles and chapters in books and clinical manuals. He spoke with students about the future of mental health care and new ways to care for the growing number of patients with mental disorders.

"Budgets in every state and health care delivery systems are being strained and the number of patients has been increasing, so there is a big push to be more efficient and effective in how we deliver care, particularly in people with mental disorders or behavioral problems."

Barlow said, based on epidemiological research over the past 10 years, Doctor's have learned the number of people who suffer from depression, bipolar, anxiety and other behavioral disorders is far greater than they once thought.

"There does seem to be an increase in the frequency of anxiety disorders based on our surveys. For a while, we thought maybe we are just better at recognizing them but that doesn't seem to be the case."

Researchers are looking at how they can organize mental health services to reach the greatest number of people in the most efficient and effective way.

Some successful programs already being put into action have been through local churches but like many other professions, the Internet could be the next major tool for patients to get the care they need.

"Going on line, reaching people through interactive web based programs where many of them can work through their difficulties with help, and maybe an occasional call from a Psychologist. "

Another way, Barlow said, is to have Mental Health Practitioners in the same office as General Care Physicians.

"Sort of one stop shopping. They won't have to be referred somewhere else, cause we know they often don't go somewhere else."

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