What is it about?

Given the low engagement rates of families in outpatient mental health clinics across the U.S., this study used a validated Psychosocial Assessment Tool (PAT) to elucidate and address family engagement barriers to increase therapy attendance to first appointments. The PAT intervention was highly effective in increasing engagement.

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Why is it important?

Families who do not access mental health care do not receive the treatment they need. One simple change to the intake process showed to be highly feasible and effective and increasing attendance to first psychotherapy appointments, and patient commitment to the clinic.


There needs to be more simple, feasible, and effective solutions to address the treatment gap in our country. Simple, those who need care are not getting care because they’re not engaged in treatment long enough and often drop out early on. There are so many families, particularly from minoritized groups, who do not receive the adequate care they need. It is essential to explore barriers to care at the intake, and continue to assess these throughout treatment, to ensure engagement In and out of therapy sessions. Further, this approach to care at the outset, will increase family commitment to mental health clinic and hopefully ensure a stronger rapport with their providers

Josefina Toso
Hofstra University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Assessing barriers to engagement in a community mental health center using the Psychosocial Assessment Tool (PAT)., Psychological Services, March 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ser0000648.
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