One in five Americans suffers from a mental health problem in a given year, yet 56% of those people do not receive treatment. Many suffer from co-occurring mental disorders and substance abuse. Addressing the range of care and service options, from prevention and screening to early intervention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, leads to better quality of care and advancement of health equity.
To meaningfully improve the health of our members and communities, we must take a broad and holistic view of health. This includes using data and resources to understand and address the physical, behavioral and social drivers of health. As we approach National Recovery Month in September, we champion this holistic approach to overall health. Substance use disorders remain a key area of focus for our Foundation, which will invest up to $30 million over the next three years to address this issue across the country. More than $450,000 is being invested right here in Indiana, to help programs that support prevention and early intervention, crisis response and intervention, long-term intervention, and community resources and recovery aids.
Today, 9.5 million adults in the United States report having both a substance use disorder and a mental illness, with substance use disorders alone affecting more than 20 million Americans ages 12 and older. These startling numbers drive our commitment to partner with organizations that provide solutions both locally and nationally. To ensure that our funding reaches the communities where it is most needed, we focus on programs aimed specifically at preventing and treating mental health and/or substance use disorders, improving access and equity through trauma-informed approaches and implementing harm reduction strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality from substance use disorders.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation know that a more personalized approach to improving health is found within communities, and it is our communities that hold the keys to making real progress. We continue to work with our local community partners across Indiana, including Overdose Lifeline, Youth First, and YWCA of Northeast Indiana, to provide meaningful solutions to improve health and advance health equity.
Our work with Overdose Lifeline in Indianapolis will be for the implementation of the “Making Our Moms Stronger” program which will better prepare expectant mothers and mothers for recovery. This program will support local women with self-esteem and self-efficacy skills, including stress management coping techniques, developmentally appropriate discipline strategies, and creating early positive experiences for their children in order to ensure a solid and lasting family bond.
In Evansville we have worked with Youth First for many years to support local youth through a variety of programs and once again we are coming together to expand their prevention and early intervention program into schools across the Indiana. This initiative will provide placement and supervision for 83 social workers in 109 rural, suburban and urban schools stretching from Evansville to southern Indianapolis. These mental health mentors will support the delivery of 322 evidence-based prevention programs in 13 counties and will be accessible to 48,000 Indiana youth at risk from economic and health disparities, scarcity of practitioners, availability of substances, family addiction, and COVID-related stress and loss. The benefits of this program to our local youth will be immeasurable given the United States Surgeon General’s declaration of a youth mental health crisis and Indiana’s last place among all states for aggregate rates. depression, anxiety, psychosis, trauma and suicide.
Finally, our collaboration with YWCA Northeast Indiana will strengthen their Hope & Harriet Addiction Recovery program, helping women recover from chemical addiction in a subacute medical setting. This program integrates high-quality, person-centered care and is guided by evidence-based addiction recovery practices tailored to treat adult women living with substance use disorder.
We continue to foster a deep, longstanding local presence in our Indiana communities while focusing on community health and becoming a trusted health partner for life. When we reimagine the health system, we create connections, break down barriers, advance health equity, and support health holistically. We encourage all Hoosiers to join us in supporting those struggling with mental health or dealing with addiction now, during National Recovery Month and throughout the year.
Dr. Kimberly Roop is the Chairman of the Medicaid Plan for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana, which serves more than 750,000 Medicaid members through the Hoosier Healthwise (HHW), Hoosier Care Connect (HCC), and Healthy Indiana Plan health insurance programs (HIP) from the state, as well as a crew member foundation.
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