The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic challenges led to a surge in the number of people facing mental health and substance use challenges. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1 in 5 American adults and 1 in 2 adolescents are living with a mental illness. Drug-related overdose deaths also continue to rise, reaching over 100k in 2021 alone. A recent survey found that 90% of adults think there is a mental health crisis in America.
Health Centers are Making a Difference
More than one-third of Americans live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area. Health centers are a key resource for these patients who otherwise may not have access to behavioral health services. Behavioral health is integrated into health centers’ care model, so patients who access primary care services can also receive mental health and substance use treatment in a familiar environment free from stigma. The holistic, culturally responsive health center approach reduces access barriers and improves patient health outcomes.
Growing to Meet Demand
Health centers are growing to meet increased need for behavioral health services. Since 2015,
the number of patients receiving behavioral health services at health centers has grown by
200% and the number of behavioral health specialists at health centers has grown by 242%.