Mental Health Month Comes to a Close, ACHP’s Work Goes On

Sunday marks the close of Mental Health Month, but ACHP member plans continue to work year-round to improve mental health care and reduce stigma. Among them:

HealthPartners in Minneapolis, Minn., collaborates with national and local partners on the Make It OK campaign to encourage people to talk more openly about mental illnesses, ask for help when they need it and understand that their illness is not shameful. The campaign includes print ads, Emmy-winning documentaries, and radio and television commercials, all emphasizing that mental illnesses are not character flaws or something to “get over.”

Results: In its first year, the campaign connected with more than 100,000 people, including those who visited the website, took the campaign’s pledge, watched the documentaries or participated in a Make It OK learning session.

CareOregon in Portland, Ore., created the Health Resilience Program to connect with and treat individuals who often do not receive care because they do not fit the traditional definition for serious mental illness. The program is designed for medically complex patients with multiple chronic conditions and various mental and social challenges including substance abuse.

Results: After one year of work with a Health Resilience Specialist, inpatient hospital admissions for individuals in the program were reduced by more than 30 percent, and the number of emergency room visits was cut in half.

Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, Wash., screens all of its teen members for depression at their annual physical with a two-question diagnostic tool called the PHQ-2. To better treat teens with depression, Group Health collaborated with the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington to develop Reach Out 4 Teens, a program that embeds a depression care manager into primary care practices to provide ongoing personalized care and support to patients and their families.

Results: Of the teens who took part in the program, 67 percent showed a positive response to treatment and 50 percent had a remission of their depression. By comparison, 38 percent of teens in traditional care responded to treatment and 20 percent experienced remission.

Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan in Albany, N.Y., created a program to improve coordination between mental and physical health care for individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, which are some of the most difficult conditions to treat.

Results: Following the intervention of a case manager, 83 percent of individuals did not have another hospital admission in the next year and 76 percent saw a reduction in emergency room visits.

UPMC Health Plan in Pittsburgh, Pa., and its partner organization, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (CCBH), worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pa.) in 2009 to form Connected Care, a program integrating behavioral and physical health care for Medicaid enrollees with serious mental illness.

Results: Participants showed statistically significant reductions in emergency room use and 30-day readmission rates.



To learn more about these ACHP programs, read Community Health Plan Strategies for Improving Mental Health.