Mental health (MH) disorders are increasingly prevalent in primary care (PC) and this has generated, in recent years, the development of strategies based on the collaborative model and the stepped care model. The Primary Support Program (PSP) was implemented in the community of Catalonia (Spain) during 2006 to improve, from the first level of care, treatment of the population with mild-moderate complexity MH problems along with identification and referral of severe cases to specialized care. The aim of the present study was to identify the strengths and limitations of the PSP from the perspective of health professionals involved in the programme.
An explanatory qualitative study based on Grounded Theory. We conducted group semistructured interviews with 37 family physicians and 34 MH professionals. A constant comparative method of analysis was performed.
Operation of the PSP is influenced by internal factors, such as the programme framework, MH liaison, management of service supply and demand, and the professional team involved. Additionally, external factors which had an impact were related to the patient, the professionals, the Health System, and community resources.
The operation of the PSP could benefit from a review of the programme framework and optimization of MH liaison. Improvements are also proposed for MH training in PC, intraprofessional coordination, use of community resources, and creation of efficient continuous assessment systems.

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