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

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.

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

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 the 2017 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

Since the Summit, the nccPA Health Foundation has annually convened its PArtners in Mental Health Steering Committee, composed of leaders of the six largest PA organizations and PA and interprofessional champions, at its office. The steering committee celebrates activities and accomplishments; updates the initiative’s environmental scan; and strives to uncover strategies to broaden and deepen commitment to this work by identifying actionable strategies for further exploration. Further, the steering committee affirms its commitment to a collective impact strategy to advance the roles of PAs and strengthen partnerships to address issues impacting mental health and substance use disorders. Following each meeting an annual Stakeholders Report is released to document progress and plans:

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


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.

Be Featured in Our Mental Health Spotlight!

We want to feature Certified PAs’ views on the importance of mental health as part of overall patient care in our Mental Health Spotlight. Share your perspective for a chance to featured on the website and our four social media platforms.

NCCPA practice analysis data tells us that 62% of all Certified PAs are evaluating patients with psychiatric symptoms on a weekly basis. By answering a few questions in an audio recording, help us share the important message that mental health is a critical component of overall well-being.

Learn more about how to be part of our Mental Health Spotlight.




Depression Data Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness and National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide Data Source & Resources: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Suicide Screening Tools


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