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. 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.
About Behavioral Health
Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The annual survey is the nation’s primary resource for data on mental health and substance use among Americans.
As Americans endure the impacts of California’s wildfires and Hurricane Laura, the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare reminds all members of resources available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The Department of Health Care Services is awarding grant funds to 212 general acute care hospitals through the Behavioral Health Pilot Project (BHPP).
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.
Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019, according to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The record number of overdose deaths predates the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that established 988 as the nationwide three-digit phone number to connect Americans in crisis with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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.
On May 8, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) formally requested an 18-month extension of the state’s current Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Services (SMHS) Waiver authorized under Section 1915(b) of the Social Security Act.
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has issued a Request for Applications for an administrator to oversee elements of the California Hub & Spoke System, otherwise known as the Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion Project. Applications are due June 14 at 4 p.m. (PT).
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.