The demand for affordable mental health care far exceeds the current supply. The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), reports that barely half of U.S. adults struggling with serious mental health issues are able to receive treatment. President Barack Obama’s administration has made steps to address this growing need by appropriating $22.9 million in funding for the development of community mental health clinics.
As a component of the Excellence in Mental Health Act, the first phase of this mental health reform has already taken effect. Twenty-four states, including California, Colorado, New York and Texas, were recently awarded grants to develop certified behavioral health clinics for local communities. These designs are to be proposed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which will then select eight states by January 2017 to move forward with development.
Linda Rosenberg, president and chief executive officer of National Council for Behavioral Health, believes this program will help reduce the gap between medical care and mental health services. She explains, “We’re very excited that we can see the day when adults and children with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders will be able to walk into a clinic and not only get immediate help, but that their behavioral and physical care needs will be coordinated.” This addresses the problem that occurs when medical professionals are unaware of a patient’s behavioral health issues, or vise versa.
Though the details of these clinics are yet to be determined, the government strives to provide the mentally ill community with places to seek treatment in a safe space with behavioral health professionals. Kana Enomoto, SAMHSA administrator, states, “We see this program as a game changer in our efforts to improve care, quality and access to service. [These] awards will assist states working closely with community clinics to bring together essential behavioral health services, integrate primary care services, and improve quality and data reporting systems.”
A statement from the HHS explains that this initiative aims to treat all ages coping with mental health or substance abuse issues. If you or a loved one is currently struggling, help is available. The Sovereign Health Group specializes in treating individuals facing mental health disorders, substance abuse issues and dual diagnosis. Call to speak with a professional today.
Written by Courtney Howard, Sovereign Health Group writer