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Insights and Trends

Mental Health Utilization on the Rise: How Are Hospital Operations Being Impacted?

Mental health spend has increased more than 50% since 2020, with in-person behavioral health service utilization up nearly 40%.1

The rise in behavioral health utilization: A timeline

      • From 2019 to 2022, utilization of behavioral health services for anxiety disorders, PTSD, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia saw a rapid increase among adults with private insurance. 1
      • The percentage of U.S. adults receiving mental health treatment rose from 19% in 2019 to nearly 22% in 2021.2
      • In October 2022, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey noted 90% of participants thought there was a mental health crisis in the U.S as more than 59 million adults reported experiencing a behavioral health condition.3,4
      • In 2023, more young adults ages 18-24 reported symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to any other age group5 – a result of rising social media usage.

How is it impacting hospital operations and outcomes?

Although the pandemic began nearly four years ago, the impact on mental health remains strong and is not expected to decline.

Emergency departments (EDs) are among the service lines still supporting the influx of behavioral health patients. However, EDs are not equipped to take on the unique needs of this patient population. The lack of resources not only hinders behavioral health patients from receiving effective care – resulting in repeat ED visits – but it also can cause care delays for patients requiring emergency treatment.

Repeat ED admissions and care delays can have substantial impacts on other post-acute offerings, most often in the form of increased care costs. When medical spend needs to be reprioritized due to avoidable readmissions, other hospital service lines are affected, and patient outcomes can decline.

The solution: Behavioral health hospital integration

The increase in mental health concerns and interest in treatment options showcase the need for behavioral health integration within the hospital setting, notes a Pew Research study.6

Dena Bravata, co-author of the study, states that “By integrating behavioral and physical health, growing issues around lack of access, affordability and stigma can be addressed while providing more comprehensive care.”

Once a hospital determines behavioral health integration to be a benefit for their patients and hospital, identifying how a behavioral health program will be implemented and managed is the next step.

Contact us today to learn how a joint venture or contract management behavioral health partnership with Lifepoint can help your hospital seamlessly integrate a high-quality behavioral health program.



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