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Mental Health Awareness Month – Integrating Physical and Behavioral Health

May 23, 2019

By: Patrick Fox, M.D., Medical Director for Behavioral Health, Colorado Community Health Alliance

Nearly one out of every five U.S. adults experiences a mental health issue each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, stigma and a variety of other barriers continue to limit thousands of people from receiving the mental health care they need. This is one of the reasons why Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA) is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2019

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Month theme highlights the link between physical and mental health – something that we feel very passionate about at CCHA.

Last year, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing named CCHA as the Regional Accountable Entity (RAE) for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) in both Region 6 (Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Jefferson counties), and Region 7 (El Paso, Park and Teller counties).  

As a RAE, CCHA integrates physical and behavioral health services under one entity, providing a more seamless and accessible health system to members in our eight counties. The CCHA model strengthens service coordination throughout the health neighborhood, promotes member choice and engagement, and ensures accountability and transparency to the Colorado system. 

Becoming a RAE has allowed us to implement what we’ve always believed – that the integration of physical and behavioral health care is crucial to the well-being of members. As a RAE, we have expanded our provider network and improved access to care and services. We have also focused on social determinants of health – aspects of an individual’s overall well-being that are not classically thought of as health such as access to food, stable and safe shelter, appropriate clothing, transportation, employment opportunities and a positive social network. This approach allows us to integrate and implement member-specific approaches and strategies that account for the person’s life stage, the health condition, their health-related behaviors and social determinants to improve the member’s health outcome.

We are proud of the work we have accomplished so far and hope to continue to promote a better health care delivery system – one that is more coordinated and seamless from the members’ perspective and where providers feel like they’re connected to a larger health community when they’re delivering care.

Help is Available

If you don’t know where to begin with a mental health, substance use or emotional concern for yourself or someone you know, we can help. Contact CCHA Member Support Services at 303-256-1717 | 719-598-1540 | 1-855-627-4685 (TTY 711)

If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one. Call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.