Families and medical professionals have long understood the importance of continuity in behavioral healthcare. Too often, treatment of mental illness, substance abuse, and other harmful addictive behaviors is a fragmented experience, handled by separate providers and relying on hospitalization or law enforcement during times of crisis. When treated in such a disjointed manner, patients, who often have additional health issues, can find it more difficult to access treatment and improve their health. Coordinating the organization and delivery of services can help communities respond more effectively and improve health outcomes.
This integrated approach is even more critical as Ohio faces a dire combination of an ongoing opioid crisis, the effects of the covid pandemic, and a worsening shortage of healthcare workers. The covid pandemic not only exacerbated these issues, but added to rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction, as people dealt with the resulting grief, uncertainty, and disruption of life. The effects were particularly acute on the young and on historically underrepresented communities.
In his State of the State address this spring, Governor DeWine identified improvements including school programs and Medicaid reform but, while noting “it still is not enough,” called for increased services and treatment in order to build “community capacity for care.”
This forum launches the City Club’s series on behavioral healthcare and looks at how close we are to creating a true continuum of care here in northeast Ohio. Where are the gaps and what can be shored up?
The livestream will be available beginning at 12:00pm. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.
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