MENTAL HEALTH & SUD

Overview

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, behavioral health is defined as the promotion of mental health, resilience and well-being; the treatment of mental and substance use disorders; and the support of those who experience and/or are in recovery from these conditions, along with their families and communities. 

The World Health Organization states that mental health and physical health are closely associated and as such, there can be “no health without mental health.” Likewise, AMCHP envisions a future where mental and emotional health and well-being are considered integral to overall health for MCH populations. To achieve equitable, culturally appropriate, family-centered, and community-relevant care, services, and support, AMCHP integrated behavioral health care systems, reduction of stigma, and increased access to mental health and substance use services.

 
Current Initiatives

Program Areas

Adolescent and Young Adult Behavioral Health

In 2017, 13.3 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million people) and 13.1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds (or 4.4 million people) reported having a major depressive episode in the past year. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 31.5 percent of students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year, while 17.2 percent of high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide – both of which are significant increases over the past 10 years. Although depression is increasing among young people, screening rates and referrals to appropriate treatment remain low. 

AMCHP aims to improve depression screening and follow-up for young people through systems-level behavioral health integration in primary care and by increasing screening rates for major depressive episodes in clinical settings using practice-based quality improvement tools and methods.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Among Pregnant People and Women of Reproductive Age

The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health maintains that the prevalence of substance use disorder and the associated mortality rate, classifies it as an ongoing national public health crisis. Over 40% of adults with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental illness. This statistic speaks to the need to address both mental health and substance use, in order to improve health outcomes for women, children, and families.

AMCHP strives to build capacity among Title V leaders and their state and local partners to advance policy that supports the needs of pregnant people and women of reproductive age with mental health and substance use disorders.

Supporting the full continuum of behavioral health services for MCH populations

Addressing the mental health and SUD needs of MCH populations requires access to the full continuum of behavioral health services, including prevention, screening, intervention and treatment, recovery supports, and harm reduction/crisis intervention. AMCHP works with its members to promote the continuum of behavioral health care, and support Title V’s essential role in supporting these services at the state level.

Fostering innovative service delivery models and building the MCH behavioral health workforce

Due to overwhelming need, states struggle to provide services to pregnant people and women of reproductive age, who have mental health and substance use disorders. AMCHP supports MCH programs with resources on alternative delivery models and approaches to expand the behavioral health workforce, such as integrated primary care, residential treatment, doula programs, peer addiction and recovery specialists, and tele-mental health. 

Destigmatizing mental health and SUD among MCH populations

Social stigma occurs when a person is viewed negatively because of their mental illness and/or SUD and discrimination occurs when the person is treated negatively because of their mental illness and/or SUD. AMCHP works with MCH programs to identify strategies that destigmatize mental illness and SUD and encourage whole-person approaches to care. Destigmatizing mental illness can improve the health of MCH populations by encouraging people to seek behavioral healthcare.

Title V Behavioral Health Workforce Support

AMCHP creates and strategically disseminates products to meet the real-time needs of MCH professionals. AMCHP helps to build Title V leaders’ capacity to address challenges and build relationships with other partners in order to respond to MCH populations’ mental and behavioral health needs.

MENTAL HEALTH & SUD

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Our Team

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Stacy Collins, MSW

Associate Director, Health Systems Transformation
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Anna Corona, MPH, CPH

Senior Program Manager, Child & Adolescent Health
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Amani Echols, MPH

Behavioral Health Policy Fellow
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Iliana Siarmalis-White, MPH, CHES, CPH

Senior MCH Specialist, Adolescent Health & Youth Engagement
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Jessica Simon, MSW

Program Manager, Health Systems Transformation
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