Mental and substance use disorders take an enormous toll on Americans’ health, longevity and productivity. Collectively, depression, anxiety and mood disorders have the greatest impact on Americans’ health of any condition, according to claims data from more than 40 million Blue Cross Blue Shield members. Substance use disorders have the fifth greatest impact, while hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are also in the top five.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index shows, through interactive maps, the effects that mental health has on our overall health. We can see these effects not only at the national
Studies like this show that entire communities benefit from access to high quality evidence-based services for mental or substance use disorders or both. As more people acknowledge and understand the impact of behavioral health conditions, we’ve helped to close the gaps in the resources devoted to treating them. However, there is more work to do.
It is critical for us to continue improving service delivery to mitigate the impact of behavioral health conditions on overall health. The 21st Century Cures Act, recently passed by Congress, offers new opportunities for policy and practice improvement. The law funds a new National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory to promote evidence-based practices and service delivery models through implementation grants and evaluation. It also supports the sharing of information about evidence-based programs and practices for states, communities, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders, building on existing resources like the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
Read the full blog post on SAMHSA.gov.