[Skip to Content]

Uncategorized

Equity leadership summit brings passion – and policy recommendations – to the table

Entry Preview

“I see a future where everyone who needs mental health care gets it. We must end the separate and unequal treatment of mental health and addiction and ensure each of us is able to achieve a full, meaningful life.” ~ The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, Former U.S. Representative and Founder of the Kennedy Forum. Recently, 988 – the new nationwide number for suicide prevention and crisis care – went live. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has the opportunity to change the game when it comes to accessing mental health services. It represents an entry point to treatment for all levels of behavioral health care and can be used for much more than suicide prevention. 988 can be used anytime someone…

Read More

Beacon and Kennedy-Satcher: advancing behavioral health equity

Entry Preview

Coming in July, the first nationwide crisis hotline for behavioral health emergencies will go live. The equivalent of 911 for mental health, 988 marks a historic milestone in improving access to life-saving crisis services. While 988 represents a crucial step forward to address the current mental health crisis in the United States, much work remains to ensure that the crisis response system is equitable – particularly for communities that have historically experienced great inequity and trauma. Data indicates that people who identify as LGBTQIA+; black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC); rural communities; immigrants, refugees, and non-English speaking people; people living with disabilities; older adults; people experiencing homelessness or housing instability; formerly incarcerated or justice-involved populations; survivors of trauma; and…

Read More

Improving outcomes for people with opioid use disorder

Entry Preview

In May 2022, the CDC estimated that more than 107,600 Americans died from drug overdoses from December 2020 to December 2021, setting another tragic record in the nation’s SUD crisis. More than 75% of those deaths were from opioids (75,673).[1] With alarming statistics like these, the need for effective treatment options for opioid use disorder (OUD) is urgent. The use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is currently the most effective treatment for OUD.[2] Although there are three FDA-approved medications (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone), MOUD is not utilized as much as it could be. In acute care settings many inpatient units still rely on traditional withdrawal management protocols, which are associated with high risk for relapse, accidental overdose, and/or…

Read More

Increasing access to behavioral health care through public / private partnerships

Entry Preview

By Wendy Martinez Farmer, Beacon Crisis Leader Nine years ago, I was driving home during Atlanta rush hour concerned I would not make it in time to pick up my 2-year-old from daycare. Traffic was heavy and I was already running late after handling a crisis at work. Suddenly, I felt crushing chest pain that radiated down both arms and up into my jaw. Instinctively I pulled off the highway, turned into a convenience store, bought an aspirin, chewed it and looked at the store clerk and said, “Please call 911. I am having a heart attack.” Within seconds, bystanders who also seemed to know what to do stepped in to keep me calm. One of them even contacted my…

Read More

Improving health equity one algorithm at a time

Entry Preview

Data and algorithms are frequently used in the healthcare industry to identify populations that may benefit from specialty care management. Data driven programs that utilize algorithms can improve disease management, health outcomes and reduce the cost of care. They also have the potential to remove bias from human decision making when it comes to accessing care.  But what happens when the algorithm itself is biased? Recent research has shown that algorithms in healthcare[1] and other fields[2] can show bias against certain populations due to systemic racism that is reflected in the data used to construct these computer-based calculations. In healthcare for example, data on cost and utilization of care is often relied upon as an indicator of problem severity. However,…

Read More

Reducing mental health stigma through community collaboration

Entry Preview

With 988 set to launch this summer, many states are working hard to prepare. Although each state has its own unique array of providers and services, coordinating them into an effective crisis system capable of serving all people can be daunting. In order for a successful 988 launch, each state will need to implement a coordinated crisis response system should the contact with the 988 center not be sufficient to meet the immediate need. Investment in mobile crisis response teams and a continuum of facility-based crisis programs can enhance and bolster existing programs and services to provide timely, appropriate care. These include psychiatric urgent care facilities, 23-hour crisis stabilization programs, peer respite centers, crisis residential programs, partial hospitalization programs and…

Read More

Overcoming stigma for better mental health

Entry Preview

Although attitudes are slowly changing, stigma continues to create a significant barrier to mental health treatment. According to Mental Health America, more than half of the people who reported experiencing mental health problems in 2020 did not receive treatment.[1] Additionally, the BCBS Health Index indicated that major depression and anxiety are underdiagnosed at rates of 32-40 percent less in Black and Hispanic/Latino communities.[2] While the reasons for this may vary, the American Psychological Association says that lower diagnosis rates are likely driven by lack of provider understanding of cultural differences, stigma and barriers to getting care such as socioeconomic disparities and provider bias / inequality of care. In the Black community in particular, stigma can be pervasive. Research has shown…

Read More

Increasing behavioral health equity in Massachusetts: MBHP will award $250K in grant funding

Entry Preview

The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) is a Beacon Health Options company and a leader in helping people lead healthier lives through access to critical services. As part of its commitment to behavioral health equity and access, MBHP recently awarded more than $130K in grants to five organizations from across the Commonwealth to increase access to and engagement in behavioral healthcare for diverse populations. This funding is the first round of a grant cycle that will ultimately distribute $250K in grants focused on this pressing issue. MBHP received more than 100 submissions from across Massachusetts. After a comprehensive review and decision-making process, the following organizations were awarded grant funding: Aspire Health Alliance Community Health Network Area 17 The Learning Center…

Read More

Crisis care saves lives through individualized services

February 16, 2022
Entry Preview

For 22-year-old Claire,[1] the holidays proved challenging. Within a few days of a visit home, her parents noticed that Claire wasn’t herself. She hadn’t slept for days and seemed to be losing touch with reality. As Claire’s behavior became more erratic, her father called 911. Normally a 911 call might result in an ambulance ride to the nearest emergency department (ED), or law enforcement involvement. But this call was different. The 911 dispatcher, having received specialized training from local mental health crisis collaboratives, recognized that Claire needed help from a mental health professional. Thanks to the state’s behavioral health crisis line, the dispatcher warm-transferred Claire’s father to a caring mental health associate trained in crisis response. Once connected, the mental…

Read More

Black Mental Health Pioneers

Entry Preview

This Black History Month we express our gratitude for the contributions of Black Americans who have fought, and continue to fight, for health equity. We recognize that there is more to be done to achieve equity in healthcare. Beacon Health Options is dedicated to advancing Behavioral Health Equity so that all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and geographic or financial access can receive individualized care that demonstrates cultural humility and improves their health and well-being. This month, we shine a light on just a few of the pioneers who have paved the way for deeper understanding and better lives for all. From groundbreaking early research sparking debate on desegregation, to new techniques and therapies we recognize…

Read More
Top Link
en_USEnglish