More young people in America are struggling with mental health and addiction issues now than at any other point in history, and they are least likely to receive help. Left unaddressed, their needs will lead to suicide, fractured families, weakened communities, and will cost the country billions annually. It is time to ensure that today’s generation, and those to follow, can heal and thrive. Through our solutions, we will empower a generation with the skills to recognize, talk about, and seek care for mental health and addiction conditions by expanding access to the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. We will also ensure that care is available to all who need it by expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) so youth, especially those in marginalized groups, can receive help. We have the opportunity and means to alter the course of mental health for the entire country.
National Council for Behavioral Healthwebsite: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/
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The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council), like so many other organizations in the behavioral health field, has taken important steps to quickly adapt their programs and activities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the restrictions of in-person engagements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council has pivoted to offer most of their consulting and training services through virtual platforms, including the creation of a fully virtual version of the Mental Health First Aid training. Additionally, as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) are demonstrating their unique capabilities to serve the behavioral health needs of communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council has enhanced their efforts to expand this organizational model by establishing a CCBHC Success Center. In both instances, the National Council is driven by an awareness that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated inequities in domains of healthcare, behavioral health, and social determinants of health (e.g., inequities in access to internet and video technology, disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among lower income and minority communities).
Racial and Ethnic Injustice Response
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. The National Council’s proposed work responds to this by creating better access to behavioral health services and greater mental health educational opportunities for communities across the country, specifically communities impacted by racial and ethnic injustice. The National Council will target expansion of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program in diverse communities by focusing on growing the number of MHFA Instructors that come from, or are racially or ethnically representative of, such communities. And while CCBHCs serve all community members regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay, through the National Council’s upcoming CCBHC Data Collaborative such organizations will have an opportunity to leverage community-level data to identify possible access-to-care inequities and support CCBHCs in addressing those.