The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, but the unfortunate reality is that only one out of 10 Americans with a substance use disorder (SUD) receives treatment.
That statistic alone is shocking, but even worse, widespread adoption of evidence-based practices has been limited.
With one in five Americans suffering from a mental illness at any point in their lives, the demand for behavioral health services is loud and clear, but the reality is that many people do not have access to quality care.
Indeed, only 26 percent of the need for mental health services is met in this country, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Unfortunately, trauma exists across all cultures and communities, but there are some cultures that inherit the pain of their forebears.
This is particularly true for Alaska Natives/American Indians whose hearts are intertwined across generations and losses of loved ones. That experience, coupled with a vanished way of life, perpetuates a sense of grief and trauma into present day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.