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Insights and Trends

Addressing the Growing Behavioral Health Population: 3 Key Strategies

Recent research highlights that one in five U.S. adults, or 47.6 million people, experience mental illness each year.1 These spikes are an extension of an ongoing crisis in behavioral health globally and are not expected to decrease in the coming years.

To address the unmet needs of this growing population, hospitals are seeking strategies to help effectively provide care to those suffering from behavioral health issues.

Three key areas of focus for hospitals include:

  1. Workforce development

    Research surrounding behavioral health is still emerging, so it can become difficult for hospitals to locate proper education and training for staff members that will help them effectively treat behavioral health conditions. Employing highly-trained and educated behavioral health experts, in addition to a dedicated behavioral health department, will help address the growing patient population.

  2. Enhanced patient access to behavioral health services

    In addition to the lack of behavioral health workforce available to serve this growing population, the lack of accessibility to these services continues to take a toll on local communities.

    In areas with these shortages, the emergency department (ED) is utilized as a patient’s primary form of behavioral health care, forcing many patients to wait for hours or even days to access an appropriate inpatient psychiatric bed. This has led many providers to examine the specific qualities that could enable their facilities to make these instrumental improvements to their overall performance and outcomes. One underlying quality is partnership.

  3. Optimizing behavioral health services through partnership

    If not properly addressed by an industry expert, optimizing a hospital to provide a more comprehensive form of care can present a multitude of challenges. It is also important to understand that as the health care landscape evolves to serve the behavioral health population, determining which services to offer will shift from the provider to the consumer. This has led many providers to outsource their current or potential behavioral health services to a trusted partner to help streamline their behavioral health offering with their existing operations.

While the need is great, running a successful behavioral health program is complex and requires specializes expertise that differs from a hospital’s standard core competencies. Having a partner with focused behavioral health expertise can benefit hospitals by alleviating the burden of implementing and optimizing a successful behavioral health program.

Read our white paper, “Key Strategies to Meet Growing Behavioral Health Needs,” to learn how we can help your hospital meet the growing behavioral health need through partnership.


  1. Mental health by the numbers. (2021). Retrieved March 22, 2021, from,2019%20(13.1%20million%20people).

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