To Improve Behavioral Health in Arizona, Think Beyond Healthcare

To Improve Behavioral Health in Arizona, Think Beyond Healthcare

(BPT) – According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with mental illness. In fact, mental health disorders are one of the most common causes of disability nationwide.

This problem is particularly acute in Arizona. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 387,000 adults in Arizona have any mental illness (AMI) and, of these, nearly 60 percent did not receive needed treatment.

While all Americans are at risk for developing a mental illness in their lifetime, low-income Americans can be particularly vulnerable. SAMHSA estimates 2.5 million adults living below the poverty line have a serious mental illness.

In response, proper treatment is critical – especially for low-income individuals, many of whom receive coverage through Medicaid. According to Care1st Health Plan Arizona, a WellCare Health Plans company and a leading provider of Medicaid in the state, there are three keys to improving mental health in Arizona, especially for those on Medicaid:

  • Address the Stigma: There has always been stigma around mental health, which may make people dealing with it embarrassed to come out and proactively seek the treatment they need. Education, communication and compassion are key to breaking down this stigma.
  • Improve Mental Health Programs: Many people neglect to seek out mental health treatment when they need it most. There are numerous programs in communities across the state that can help individuals access and maintain proper mental health treatment. The team at Care1st Health Plan Arizona, for example, brings together a team of providers – from licensed behavioral health clinicians to pharmacists to community health workers – to work one-on-one with its members to coordinate medical and pharmacy care, while helping to coordinate additional social support services.
  • Go Beyond Healthcare: By building a bridge between healthcare and social services, we can begin to address the barriers that prevent people from getting needed mental health treatment. There are a number of social support services available to assist Arizonans with services such as rides to medical appointments, medication assistance, access to healthy foods and utilities assistance, among others.

WellCare and Care1st Health Plan Arizona offer a Community Connections Help Line to help connect callers with local support resources. For help, call 866-775-2192, where someone is available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time).

Contract services are funded under contract with the State of Arizona.


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