Mental Health is one of the areas that was truly challenged during the Pandemic. And this time, it’s getting the attention of the community and a lot of initiatives are being worked on all forefronts.
In the healthcare industry, the nursing homes are looking into expanding the mental and behavioral health of their residents or patients. National HealthCare Corporation, a senior care provider, has opened two behavioral health hospitals in Missouri and Tennessee. They opened a 64-bed psychiatric hospital last April and the latest addition to that is a 16-bed geriatric psychiatric hospital earlier this month.
“We are experiencing a mental health crisis in America,” Shawna Nymeyer, NHC’s vice president of behavioral health, said in an emailed statement to Skilled Nursing News. “Nearly 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health problem in their lifetime. Our geriatric population is at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis when they have a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or even depression. We believe that our geriatric population will have better outcomes when we work with skilled nursing providers, hospitals and other post-acute providers to offer the appropriate level of care in our geriatric hospitals. We are proud to provide this much-needed care to patients in Missouri and Tennessee.” - Sherrie Stafford, CEO and administrator of NHC, Center for Behavioral Health-Maryland Heights
Another organization GAPS Health, a medical directorship company expands its offerings as well in Wisconsin, Utah, Idaho and Texas. The plan to roll out this offering in the coming months in Wisconsin area.
“It made natural, logical sense for us to start adding behavioral health to some of the services that we do offer to the nursing care facilities. We’ve seen a definite uptick in depression, definite uptick in behavioral issues.” - Dr. Sonali Wilborn, chief medical officer for GAPS.
Companies that have different specializations have also expanded their niche and now offer mental health services. Catholic Care Center is one that started developing an acute care senior behavioral health unit as part of their multi-million project.
In other areas, some providers who are providing care services are also being empowered to handle mental health needs. In New York, there is a $16.8 million grant for five years to UBMD Psychiatry to sustain Project TEACH (Training and Education for the Advancement of Children’s Health).
“Pediatricians and family practice doctors are often the first place families go to seek help or information if they have concerns about their children’s emotional or behavioral health, Project TEACH connects pediatric primary care providers with psychiatrists and other behavioral health care experts for consultation, referrals to services, and education and training on children’s social and emotional development. Our new contract with UBMD Psychiatry will help expand the services provided through Project TEACH and help more children and families address any mental health concerns they may have ” - Ann Sullivan, OMH Commissioner
The program will also be opened to other practitioners particularly obstetrician/gynecologists to combat other perinatal mental health disorders and maternal depression.
Truly, these efforts are admirable. We continue to look forward to all advancements and improvements that cater to the greater needs of the community.