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Behavioral Health Foundation Awards Millions in Grants for Improved Care

June 16, 2017

The behavioral health foundation of Providence St Joseph Health’s Well Being Trust, a $130 million fund, has awarded three mental health associations millions in funding aimed at improving mental health treatment access and outcomes.

The foundation will develop evidence-based recommendations to improve access to mental health services in hospital and community settings alongside the recent grant recipients—the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Trust for America's Health, and California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative.

The grant program, Well Being Trust, launched last year with an initial $100 million endowment, with an additional $30 million specifically allocated for work set in the state of California with the California Mental health and Wellness Initiative that will conduct a 3-year initiative to integrate behavioral health between clinics and the community.

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The launch of the program comes at a time when emergency departments (ED) and primary care clinics are struggling to meet the needs of a growing number of patients with mental health and substance abuse issues rises. A 2016 Health Affairs study showed that EDs have seen mental health-related cases rise by 55% over the past decade from 4.4 million visits in 2002 to 6.8 million in 2011 (September 2016. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0344).

It has been estimated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness that roughly 44 million adults currently living in the United States are diagnosed with mental illness, and approximately 60% did not receive treatment in the past 12 months.

Together, the companies will work to better integrate behavioral health into emergency departments that will allow patients with mental health disorders and substance abuse issues to receive quicker access to such services.

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