Core Competencies for Behavioral Health Providers in Primary Care

Resource summary

Competence as a licensed behavioral health provider working in primary care refers to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes—and their interconnectedness—that allow an individual to perform the tasks and roles in that setting. The goal for all members of the primary care team is to acquire and demonstrate competencies specific to their roles in integrated primary care.

The document examines eight core competencies for behavioral health providers working on a team in primary care:

  1. Identify and assess behavioral health needs as part of a primary care team
  2. Engage and activate patients in their care
  3. Work as a primary care team member to create and implement care plans that address behavioral health factors
  4. Help observe and improve care team function and relationships
  5. Communicate effectively with other providers, staff, and patients
  6. Provide efficient and effective care delivery that meets the needs of the population of the primary care setting
  7. Provide culturally responsive, whole-person and family-oriented care
  8. Understand, value, and adapt to the diverse professional cultures of an integrated care team
Psychologist/Mental Health/Psychiatrists
Practice Type
Behavioral Health
Primary Care
Resource type
Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, Emma C. Gilchrist, MPH, Kaile M. Ross, MA, Shale L. Wong, MD, MSPH, Alexander Blount, EdD, C.J. Peek, PhD.
Publication date
Sponsoring organization
Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center