Blog Post

Mental Health Awareness Month: 5 Premises about the Future of Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Month 5 Premises Web

May is Mental Health Awareness Month—an opportunity to highlight the important work that mental health professionals do. At ECG, we’re supporting efforts to raise awareness about mental health this month by focusing on the projects, perspectives, and partners we’ve worked with in this space.

The demand for mental health services will continue to grow as a result of reduced stigma, regulatory changes, the COVID‑19 pandemic, and shifting payer priorities. As a result, health systems are under pressure to change their approach to providing access to mental health services by investing in innovative strategies to meet patients’ physical and mental health needs.

Behavioral health has traditionally been viewed by hospitals and health systems as a cost center rather than an area in which to focus resources. But with behavioral health moving increasingly into the national spotlight, health systems have an opportunity to adopt contemporary behavioral health strategies. Investing in mental health can lead to increased access, improve patient outcomes, enhance patient and provider experiences, and ultimately impact the total cost of care.

ECG believes focusing on mental health should be a health system’s priority right now—not in five years. This summer, we will be publishing a whitepaper that elaborates on our position on mental and behavioral health services, founded on the following five premises:

  • Premise 1: Most communities and health systems lack a coordinated behavioral health service continuum, thereby contributing to health inequities and disparities that adversely impact the overall health status of the community.
  • Premise 2: The absence of mental health services as an integral component of a care delivery system will result in higher costs and utilization of other services.
  • Premise 3: Demographic, socioeconomic, and lifestyle trends are driving up demand for behavioral health services, stressing existing access and capacity, and requiring innovative prevention and treatment approaches in parallel with workforce and digital solutions.
  • Premise 4: Consumers will increasingly desire whole-person care—physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental—driving payers and providers to offer mental health programs that stress access, affordability, support, and equity.
  • Premise 5: Hospitals and health systems that invest in mental health access and integrate behavioral health services with other clinical programs are better positioned to manage the total costs for an episode of care and will perform better under value-based care and population health models.

Check back this summer for our full whitepaper, in which we’ll provide guidance on where health systems should focus their efforts to make progress toward achievement of an improved future state for mental health services.

Throughout the remainder of May, we’ll be featuring thought leadership about the increasing importance of investment in mental health services—and the value for health systems in integrating mental health services across the primary and specialty care continuum.

Looking for a great example on structuring behavioral health access for your organization?

ECG helps healthcare organizations improve behavioral health access, design new strategies, and optimize financial resources. Learn more about our team and what we do.

Learn More