Two Beacon programs help to shape American healthcare landscape

For approximately 35 years, Beacon Health Options has worked to deliver on a fundamental yet singularly important goal: helping people live their lives to their fullest potential by driving and supporting evidence-based, integrated care.

Today, Beacon serves more than 40 million members, but the company’s efforts extend to all Americans as it strives to improve the US healthcare delivery system at large.

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One of the toughest endeavors: Changing health behavior

Beacon Health Options’ mission is to help people live their lives to the fullest potential. It’s a simple, yet extraordinarily complicated, goal because it requires changing behavior at all levels – system, provider and individual.

Beacon has myriad programs to help improve individuals’ mental health, and ultimately, wellbeing. Programs range from pharmacy management to home-based therapy to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment to intensive case management.

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I feel your pain: Suicide’s impact on the mental health professional

As a mental health professional, two experiences with suicide have stayed with me over time.

The first occurred while working on an inpatient unit. A young woman jumped five stories from a parking garage and survived.

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Treating substance use disorders with web-based technologies

Which is more effective for treating substance use disorders – online or in-person interventions?

A recently released study of addiction treatments by Yale University compared the effectiveness of online to in-person methods and drew a conclusion that might offend readers with Luddite leanings: web-based treatment is not only as effective as in-person treatment but possibly more so.

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Telehealth: A virtual technology for improved access, convenience and more

For so many of us, it’s easy to put off that doctor or other healthcare appointment. The kids have soccer practice. There’s a lot going on at work. The oil needs to be changed in the car. The dog needs to go to the vet.

Yes, it’s not good, but it reflects the reality of our fast-paced lives. There’s too much going on in a day to take time out to care for ourselvesHowever, there is an evidence-based solution for addressing the most fundamental barriers to care – access and convenience – and that is telehealth.

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AI in behavioral health care: When artificial intelligence became real

Not long ago, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care may have seemed like the stuff of which science fiction books and movies is made, but AI is fast becoming positioned to become business as usual in an industry that is already steeped in data and analytics.

AI amps up the game, and Beacon Health Options has become a willing player in using this cutting-edge technology to improve people’s health at a reduced cost.

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July: It’s more than an observance of mental health awareness

Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. Recognizing July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) acknowledges this disparity by joining partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to help raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations.

The OMH quotes the following statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration regarding mental health disparities among minority populations.

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NAMI Conference 2018: Helping people make connections

I came to my first NAMI conference as a person in recovery from bipolar disorder and as a mental health journalist.

The NAMI 2018 conference in New Orleans last month proved wildly successful in connecting me with like-minded souls as well as to businesses and organizations that can help people like me live complete and meaningful lives

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Drug diversion: The crime that affects everybody

Drug diversion is defined as any transfer of a prescription drug from a lawful to an unlawful channel of distribution or use.

Often thought of as occurring in the outpatient setting – with doctor-shopping, “pill mills,” and family or friends taking medications not prescribed to them – drug diversion can occur in hospitals and other inpatient facilities. It is a very real and costly problem, with far-reaching effects, often referred to as a “multiple-victim” crime.

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The Many Faces of Stigma

The theme “Live. Learn. Share Hope” of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention to be held June 27-30 in New Orleans provides an excellent launching pad to start a conversation regarding stigma as we live, learn and share hope about the people affected by mental illness.

Stigma, like so many of life’s experiences, can be as individual as the person experiencing it.

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