In case you haven’t heard, Sunday, October 10th is World Mental Health Day! World Mental Health Day receives organizational support by the World Federation for Mental Health, and occurs on the last day of Mental Illness Awareness Week. To cap off the week and celebrate World Mental Health Day, we wanted to highlight some things SAMHSA is doing and some great activities others in the field have done to show how important it is to discuss mental health problems and break down the misconceptions and barriers to recovery.
SAMHSA has developed a guide to Mental Illness Awareness Week which details the importance of social inclusion for people with behavioral health problems, the impact of co-occurring disorders , how to ensure cultural competence, and it provides a number of resources for social inclusion campaigns, including those targeted to a specific audience like military families or faith-based communities. In addition to developing a guide, SAMHSA has a number of social inclusion campaigns, the most recent being a multicultural campaign, What A Difference a Friend Makes . On the site you can check out different ads and messaging targeted at specific populations.
SAMHSA is not the only one making people more aware of the importance of speaking up about mental health or substance use problems, New Mexico has a social inclusion campaign called “Talk About It New Mexico”. “Talk About It” encourages people to talk about their mental illness or substance use condition with the idea that talking about it helps break down the prejudice associated with behavioral health issues and promotes healing and recovery. This particular ad campaign focuses on youth and features students at the University of New Mexico, including the Lobos quarterback who deals with daily pressures that sometimes lead to alcohol and drug use, depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Like New Mexico, lots of states, local areas and organizations have some great social inclusion campaigns. To see what other states are doing, check out SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (ADS Center).
Finally, Sunday is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is integration of primary care and behavioral health care (PBHCI). The purpose of PBHCI is to improve health including emotional health of a person, regardless of whether they see a primary care or behavioral health care provider.
Recently the US Department of Health and Human Services has been active in facilitating PBHCI by awarding $26.2 million to expand primary care to individuals with behavioral health disorders. The majority of the grants are funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to improve health status by improving the coordination of healthcare services delivered in publicly funded community mental health and other community-based behavioral health settings. The grants include up to $20.9 million to help 43 community behavioral health agencies integrate primary care into their services and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare received $5.3 million in grants, jointly funded by SAMHSA and the Health Resources and Services Administration, to establish a national resource center dedicated to integrating primary and behavioral health care. The center will also help develop models of integrated care. From these models both primary and behavioral health care practitioners can learn to address the comprehensive health needs of patients no matter where individuals obtain care.
Both integration of primary care and behavioral health care, and social inclusion campaigns and programs are critical to improving the behavioral health care system and we are always looking for new ideas. If you have some, please let us know and comment!