The United States currently reports an acute lack of qualified behavioral health providers, which limits patients’ access to mental health care and substance use disorder treatment. According to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), over 150 million people live in a federally designated mental health professional shortage area, and this number is projected to grow in coming years.
However, increased collaboration between medical and behavioral health providers can help to extend the capacity of the existing workforce, increase access to care, and reduce the harmful stigma associated with mental health services. This briefing will focus on “integrated behavioral health” (IBH), which is defined as the treatment of physical health in concert with behavioral health. IBH occurs within both primary and specialty care settings, leveraging an interprofessional team comprised of both medical and behavioral health practitioners to address the medical, behavioral, and social factors that impact health and well-being. Panelists will share their perspectives on the benefits of integrated behavioral health for patients, discuss barriers to care, and highlight a path forward.