Several speakers at AHCJ’s Mental Health Summit lauded the Rand Corp.’s recently released “Transforming Mental Health Care in the United States,” a research brief whose 15 recommendations, among other things, call for:
- More formalized mental health education for schoolkids.
- More programs that keep homeless persons with mental illness in supportive housing.
- Increased efforts to stem incarceration of the mentally ill.
- Nationwide standards for prescribing and paying for mental and behavioral health services.
- Financial and other incentives that expand the number of medical school-trained. psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses who can prescribe medication, and so forth, while also raising the count of on-the-ground community-health workers who are critical to filling gaps in mental health care access.
The report comes as the nation’s mental health care system continues to struggle to meet many goals of the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008 to expand the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996.
Amid current bipartisan efforts aimed at shoring up that system, how to build and adequately compensate a lay workforce of community health workers and peer, support specialists, is a question that increasingly comes up, said public health researcher Ryan McBain, Ph.D., M.P.H.