Mental Health


Mental health is fundamental to overall health. Our mental health affects every aspect of our lives: how we feel, think, act, and heal. The connection between mental health and physical health is two-way and well-documented. Physical health conditions can increase the risk of mental disorders; and mental illness or poor mental health can lead to an increase risk of such conditions as heart disease or stroke. According to Healthy People 2020, mental disorders are “among the most common causes of disability.” The widespread impact of depression and anxiety, suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses means few are unaffected. We hear a call to action and support care integration and coordination. We strive to position PAs across disciplines to become mental health champions and respond efficiently to patients with multiple health needs.


More than 126 million Americans are known to live in mental health profession shortage areas as reported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Want to get involved? Check out grant opportunitiesgeneral resources and education opportunities.

Through collaborative efforts, the nccPA Health Foundation seeks to:

  • Foster and promote the role of PAs across disciplines in the management of mental health, mental illness, and substance use disorders.
  • Analyze the mental health landscape to highlight urgent and emerging mental health issues and formulate inclusive strategies to address the issues.
  • Equip PAs—as part of an interdisciplinary team—in addressing the spectrum of patients' mental health needs.

PArtners in Mental Health Summit

The PArtners in Mental Health Summit:  Proceedings and Recommendations describes four strategies identified at a June 2017 convening. “This meeting and these recommendations are the first steps to identifying strategic and innovative ways to further integrate PAs in the delivery of mental health services,” said Ted Wendel, Ph.D., and chair of the board of the nccPA Health Foundation, which convened the summit.

The recommendations form a framework intended to catalyze dialogue and activities that leverage the role and capacity of PAs and partners to address the mental health and substance use disorder crises facing the nation. 

“The shared goal of those participating is to enable the PA community to make an exponential difference in this complex, national problem. By leveraging the capacity of PAs and partners to meet mental and behavioral health needs, we hope to improve overall health.”

The Summit brought together more than 30 healthcare leaders, including PAs in psychiatry, other disciplines, and education as well as interprofessional champions and mental health experts. Leaders from the AAPA, ARC-PA, NCCPA, PAEA, and PAF continue to work with the nccPA Health Foundation as a steering committee to guide this effort. 

Read the press releases announcing the Summit and Recommendations.

Sustaining this Work

On the Summit’s one-year anniversary, the PArtners in Mental Health steering committee, composed of leaders of the six largest PA organizations and PA and interprofessional champions, met at the nccPA Health Foundation office. The steering committee celebrated first-year successes; update the initiative’s environmental scan; and worked to broaden and deepen commitment to this work by identifying actionable strategies for further exploration in 2018, 2019, and beyond. The steering committee affirmed its continuing commitment to a collective impact to advance the roles of PAs and strengthen partnerships to address issues impacting mental health and substance use disorders. Read the PArtners in Mental Health Initiative: Stakeholders Report 2018

If you’re interested in getting involved with resulting PA efforts and activities, please share your name and contact information at contactus@nccpahealthfoundation.net.

Data Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness                            Data Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Depression Screening Tools                                                                        Suicide Risk Screening Tools


                      Data Source: National Alliance on  Mental Illness                                 Data Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration               
Anxiety Disorders Screening Tools                                                                Drug and Alcohol Use Screening Tools 

PA Mental Health Community Outreach Grant

Apply for up to $1000 in grant funding to address mental health and illness in your community. To learn more about mental health, check out these resources which may also be useful in planning a community event.