National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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November 5, 2012 (Washington, DC) – National Council for Mental Wellbeing (National Council) has partnered with Presbyterian Health Plan (PHP) to develop an integrated health workforce in New Mexico to serve the integrated behavioral health, physical health, and long term care needs of the community.

“Consumers of healthcare want one-stop shopping. Preparing the workforce to take a whole health perspective is a critical step toward meeting consumer demand and we congratulate Presbyterian for leading the way,” said Linda Rosenberg, MSW, National Council President and CEO.

PHP will invest in workforce training for more than 600 case managers and community health workers to broaden their knowledge and skills by offering enhanced training and support for behavioral healthcare. This workforce will serve as an extension of PHP’s workforce in rural, urban and tribal communities to support health literacy and care coordination.

“Serving our patients and members in a manner that incorporates their physical, behavioral health, long term care and socio-economic circumstances is the future of healthcare, and we recognize the need to ensure that this community’s workforce has the capacity to address these issues in tandem,” said Dennis Batey, MD, president of PHP. “We are pleased to partner with the National Council to offer this important training to the community.”

The three unique trainings that will be provided to the workforce include the following:

1. Case Manager Training: Case managers who have served as key liaisons in helping people obtain treatment and support for behavioral health challenges are trained to navigate care for chronic physical conditions for patients with serious mental illness. In addition, they will learn how to understand common health problems, offer basic health interventions, collaborate with primary care providers for referrals, and change the health behaviors of those they serve.

2. Community Health Worker Training: Traditionally, community health workers have worked in racial and ethnic communities that underutilize healthcare services by educating patients, coordinating their care, and becoming part of their support networks. While they have typically addressed chronic physical conditions, they are now being trained to identify mental illness and addiction disorders and offer interventions, supports, and referrals.

3. WHAM Training: People who have experienced mental and addiction disorders and are now in the behavioral health workforce. These employees will be trained in Whole Health Action Management (WHAM). Trainees will be able to help their peers with chronic physical and behavioral health challenges set and reach whole health and wellness goals through an 8-week action plan and support groups.