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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

National Council Launches BHECON: A Behavioral Health and Economics Network

August 4, 2016 | Workforce | Comments
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Despite growing demand, far too many Americans live without access to the mental health services they need.  Between workforce shortages, dismally low reimbursement rates and financing methodologies that often fail to cover critical treatment services, health care providers struggle to build capacity to serve all individuals living with mental illnesses. This week, the National Council launched a new initiative – the Behavioral Health and Economics Network (BHECON) – to unite diverse stakeholders to identify, examine and advance policy reforms to strengthen states’ mental health delivery systems.


“The passage of the Excellence in Mental Health Act of 2014, and the subsequent Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration project, was a significant first step toward strengthening states’ delivery systems; yet, there remain a multitude of barriers to this and other transformation efforts,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. “BHECON will build upon these efforts, breaking down policy silos while identifying the spillover costs of untreated mental illness and improving access to mental health services.”


BHECON will convene a series of forums in Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri and Pennsylvania, bringing together diverse stakeholders to explore state-specific policy reforms. With aims to support sustainable policy change by uniting stakeholders around a common agenda, the forums will focus on translating research and health economic data into compelling and useful information for policymakers and advocates striving to improve mental health care. Through coordination between state governments, the federal government, criminal justice systems and other social service systems such as children and family services, BHECON will strengthen the continuum of care and the capacity of the mental health safety net



The first BHECON forum took place Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri. A diverse group of individuals including legislators, providers, and agency officials were on-hand to discuss challenges facing Missouri’s mental health workforce and key policy changes needed to strengthen and enhance the delivery of care within the state. For a full recap of this and other meetings, stay tuned to Capitol Connector.


BHECON activities are held in partnership between the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Connecticut Community Providers Association, the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association, the Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the Illinois Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health.  These activities in 2016 are generously supported by Alkermes.


Follow BHECON on social media for the latest news, policy recommendations, and behavioral health and economic data. For more information on BHECON visit