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February 2023Vol. 24, No. 1HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a strategic plan to address the gaps between the need for mental health care and substance use disorder care and the accessibility of such services. Concerns about the importance of mental health and challenges of substance use increased in the wake of the pandemic. Self-reported symptoms of anxiety and the rate of overdose deaths have both increased, while the use of mental health and substance use disorder services has decreased. President Biden has made mental health a priority and created a three-pillar strategy to address it:

  • Strengthen system capacity
  • Connect Americans to care
  • Support Americans by creating health environments

The HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration also examines what further steps can be taken to advance the President's Mental Health Strategy through integrated care and equity. Integrating behavioral health into larger health-care and social systems—and vice versa—helps treats a person holistically and makes behavioral health services easier to access. Ensuring equity helps decrease disparities in care received and increase access to care for underserved populations.

The brief highlights selected policies and programs HHS is pursuing to support the pillars of the President's Strategy. While it is not an exhaustive list of all the behavioral health initiatives within the department, it is a showcase of efforts intended to help drive the Nation toward integrated care and a transformation of the U.S. behavioral health system.