Drastic spikes in behavioral health issues are impacting communities across the nation as individuals continue to navigate stressors brought on by the pandemic. Recent research highlights that one in five U.S. adults, or 47.6 million people, experience mental illness each year.1 These spikes are an extension of an ongoing crisis in behavioral health globally and are not expected to decrease once COVID-19 subsides.

In an effort to address the unmet needs of this growing population, health systems are looking for strategies to help efficiently and effectively provide care to those suffering from mental and behavioral health issues.

Three key areas of focus for hospitals can include:

    Workforce Development

  1. Workforce Development
    Research surrounding behavioral health is still emerging, so it can become difficult for hospitals to locate proper education and training for staff members that will help them effectively treat behavioral health disorders. That can hinder a hospital’s ability to recommend the most beneficial form of treatment. Employing highly-trained and educated behavioral health experts, in addition to a dedicated behavioral health department, will help address the growing patient population.

  2. Enhanced Patient Access to Behavioral Health Services

  3. Enhanced Patient Access to Behavioral Health Services
    In addition to the lack of behavioral health workforce available to serve this growing population, the lack of accessibility to these programs and services continues to take a toll on communities across the country.

    In areas with these shortages, the ED is utilized as a patient’s primary form of behavioral healthcare, forcing many patients to wait for hours or even days to access an appropriate inpatient psychiatric bed. This has led many providers to examine the specific qualities that could enable their facilities to make these instrumental improvements to their overall performance and outcomes. One underlying quality is partnership.

  4. Optimizing Behavioral Health Services Through Partnership

  5. Optimizing Behavioral Health Services Through Partnership
    If not properly addressed by an industry expert and trusted partner, optimizing a hospital to provide a more comprehensive form of care can present a multitude of challenges. It is also important to understand that as the healthcare landscape evolves to serve the behavioral health population, determining which services to offer will shift from the provider to the consumer. This has led many providers to outsource their current or potential behavioral health services to an industry expert to help ensure behavioral health service integration is streamlined with their existing hospital operations.

While the need is great, running a successful behavioral health program is complex and requires specializes expertise that differs from a hospital’s standard core competencies. Having a partner with focused behavioral health expertise can benefit hospitals by alleviating the burden of implementing and optimizing a successful behavioral health program.

Read our latest whitepaper, “Key Strategies to Meet Growing Behavioral Health Needs,” to learn how Kindred Behavioral Health can help prepare your hospital for the growing patient population and how partnership can offer superior long-term benefits.


References:

  1. Mental health by the numbers. (2021). Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/mhstats#:~:text=20.6%25%20of%20U.S.
    %20adults%20experienced,2019%20(13.1%20million%20people).
By Kindred Behavioral Health