October 13, 2020

Alison Leonard on Further Improving Access to Mental Health Resources in Dallas

Alison, a key leader within our mental & behavioral health practice, penned a piece for D Magazine about how the pandemic has affected mental health in Texas and beyond.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created skyrocketing rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. But it has also seen increased access to resources and care through telehealth and other online tools and outreach.

Alison’s article notes that the pandemic is far from over, and the long-term effects of the recession, unemployment, loss of family and friends, isolation and more will wreak havoc on our collective mental health for the months and years to come. She cites this as a reason to not only build on the increased access via virtual care, but also better treatment plans for substance abuse and more collaborative care models. She writes:

“A solution to curb these unnecessary deaths would be universal access to collaborative care behavioral health model and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid users. MMHPI’s modeling shows that if Texas had universal access to collaborative care to treat major depression that the number of suicide deaths could reduce between 725 and 1,100 per year and nationally, 14,500 deaths could be prevented.

The collaborative care model is a care team led by a primary care physician and includes mental health care managers, psychiatrists, and other mental health specialists which implements a measurement-guided tailored care plan that relies on accountability and evidence-based care. Studies have shown this model improves outcomes, controls costs and helps patients living in both rural and urban settings.”

The full piece can be read here.

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