We will use this time to unite our voices. May is a time to raise awareness for people living with mental or behavioral health problems and to help reduce the stigma that many people suffer from. Hospitals and health systems play an important role in providing behavioral health care and helping patients find available resources in their community. Hospitals and health systems have a unique opportunity to act as leaders and convenors for a wide spectrum of community agencies and other community partners to form regional behavioral health care networks to improve access to the right care at the right time and place.
Isolation, illness, bereavement, job loss, dietary instability and loss of routines have increased the need for mental health services. The mental health of young people is also worsening, with nearly 10 percent of young Americans reporting severe depression. We must also address the disparities faced by underserved communities, especially communities of color, and they work to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, quality, evidence-based mental health care. At the same time, the need to protect people from COVID-19 has made it more difficult for people to access mental health services and it is more difficult for providers to provide this care.
Millions of adults and children across the United States suffer from mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The NPW is an annual health celebration dedicated to increasing public awareness and action around the prevention of substance use and the promotion of positive mental health. The AHA supports the integration of behavioral and physical health and helps hospitals play a key role in establishing partnerships to ensure access to a full range of behavioral health care. The characteristics of current and emerging regional behavioral health networks across the country provide information for other communities interested in improving access to behavioral health services through community partnerships.