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UNMC resident plays key role in Bridges to Mental Health project

Department of Psychiatry third-year resident Max Lydiatt, MD, has spent the past year and a half working on training materials and surveys to help doctors and other medical providers, who do not have an extensive background in behavioral healthcare, learn how to handle patients who show mental health concerns. 

The Bridges to Mental Health project was started by Dr. Lydiatt’s father, head and neck surgical oncologist William Lydiatt, MD, and gastroenterologist John Mitchell Jr., MD, as an effort to increase access to mental health care through hosting seminars that educate primary care and specialty providers (physicians and APPs) across various disciplines, including family medicine, internal medicine, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, surgical oncology, nephrology and other disciplines.

Initial seminars were in August 2023 and January 2024, and more than 60 healthcare professionals attended. The sessions were taught by nationally renowned psychiatrists David Rubin, MD; Robert Althoff, MD; and Mona Potter, MD. Dr. Rubin was an associate professor at Creighton University. 

Hilary Applequist, a nurse practitioner from Methodist Hospital in Omaha, said she had high hopes going into the training, and the August sessions did not disappoint. 

“The sessions were engaging and interactive,” Applequist said. “I left with good tools to help care for my patients, plus ongoing resources I can return to when needed.”

Applequist added that she had used the tools often in practice, and three of her colleagues attended a January 2024 session on her recommendation.  

Dr. Max Lydiatt was asked to research the effectiveness of this project. Following the sessions, surveys were sent out to the attendees. He said that participants were not only using the tools but also recognizing more patients struggling with mental health. 

“The data shows that provider confidence in every domain we studied increased significantly after the training. The numbers we have seen have shown the training is beneficial,” said Dr. Max Lydiatt. 

Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), Clarkson Regional Health Foundations, and the Ronda and Howard Hawks Foundation funded the projects. 

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