Addressing the Behavioral Health Crisis

May 28, 2019 By: Bob Atlas

May is Mental Health Month. Though we in health care don’t need a designated month to know that our nation — and our state — is in a behavioral health crisis.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, in 2016, one in six 12-17-year-olds was diagnosed with depression or anxiety, and one in six children aged 2-8 had a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration data reveal that only 43% of the 44.7 million adults with any mental health disorder received treatment, and just 11% of 19.9 million adults with a substance use disorder received treatment.

MHA continues to prioritize behavioral health. Our Behavioral Health Task Force convenes member representatives to work on collective action and guide our policy advocacy.

Last week, the task force was joined by community providers to discuss next steps in building a statewide referral system. Participants described local projects — primarily those that use technology or brief case management to facilitate referrals between medical and social service providers. MHA staff released a directory of some of the resources available to support Marylanders having behavioral health needs.

You’ll recall that our task force in 2017 issued a roadmap for the behavioral health care delivery system in Maryland. More recently, MHA:

There is still more we can do. MHA will continue to work with the hospital field and behavioral care partners to improve the behavioral health story in Maryland.