Press Releases: Addressing Whole Health
Contact Communications@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.3728
Washington, DC, November 4, 2009 — Communities are realizing the value of primary care and mental health providers working together to improve the health and wellness of their patients, and now they have more working examples to learn from. The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Primary Care-Behavioral Health Collaborative project has a wealth of data and lessons learned that will help to advance the growing movement toward holistic care.
“At a time when the safety net in states across the country is threatened by dwindling resources in the face of increasing demand, partnerships between mental health-substance use and primary care treatment centers are critical,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. “National Council members are determined to offer improved care even in tough times,” she added.
Participants from the just concluded, yearlong third phase of the National Council’s Primary Care-Behavioral Health Collaborative are convened in Washington, DC November 3 and 4 to discuss findings and lessons learned. Participants include staff from community behavioral health organizations and their partner community health centers in Colorado, Florida, Indiana, and Maryland.
The National Council’s Primary Care-Behavioral Health Collaborative establishes working relationships between community mental health centers and community health centers to ensure that physical and mental healthcare is effectively coordinated.
The Collaborative increased the ability of primary care clinics to screen persons with depression for other mental health conditions and to coordinate specialty treatment with local community mental health organizations. The participating community health centers screened up to 100% of patients with depression for bipolar symptoms; up to 85% of patients with depression for suicide risk; and up to 91% of patients with depression for substance use. Up to 32 % of patients with depression/bipolar disorders were referred to community mental health centers for specialty treatment.
The Collaborative also extends primary care services to persons with serious mental illnesses who are at risk for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac conditions. Collaborative participants developed efficient and effective protocols for cross-organization referrals, communication and tracking of care processes and outcomes.
The National Council offers a wide range of free resources in behavioral health and primary care collaboration; and more than 900 organizations participated in an October 2009 webinar on partnerships between community mental health organizations and Federally Qualified Health Centers. An extensive array of clinical, operational, and financing resources for healthcare collaboration is available at the National Council Resource Center.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,700 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological, and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.