Behavioral Health

About Behavioral Health

An estimated 7.5 million people in California experience a mental health disorder in any given year, but only one-third of adults who experience mental illness are getting treatment. The caregivers at hospitals know the obstacles people with behavioral health conditions face and the challenges in getting them the treatment they need.

While hospitals embrace the essential role they play in addressing this crisis, more needs to be done. Investments are needed to tackle a crisis made even worse by COVID-19. California must prioritize behavioral health investments in prevention, early assessment, identification of needs, and aggressive treatment for all, regardless of health coverage or ZIP code.

In addition, solutions like payment reform, resource allocation, more outpatient and community-based services, a bolstered behavioral health workforce, and a statewide set of standardized core services will help Californians with behavioral health conditions access the care they deserve.

JAMA Article Examines Behavioral Health Parity Efforts Nationwide

A recent article in JAMA —  citing data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — reported that less than two-thirds of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other serious mental health conditions received care for their illness in 2018, while the same study showed only one in five people with an opioid use disorder obtained treatment. 

State Health Leaders Call for Suicide Screening

Citing concern about COVID-19’s immediate and long-term impact on individuals’ mental health, the directors of the Department of Health Care Services and California Department of Public Health, and the state Surgeon General, have called on all California medical and behavioral health providers to ask four suicide screening questions of the people they care for.

UN Releases Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Mental Health

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres announced the UN’s policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health last week and urged the international community to do much more to protect those who face rising mental pressures. He said that mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19 that must be expanded and fully funded.