Forecasting the Next 5 Years
“As a Nation, we’re deep in the conversation about health reform,” said A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). “That includes embracing the truth that mental health is key to overall health.”
In a recent interview, Ms. Power talked about her article, “A Public Health Model of Mental Health for the 21st Century,” published in the May 2009 issue of the journal Psychiatric Services.
“At CMHS, we wanted to make a strategic forecast going from 2008 forward to 2013 in the context of the new Administration, the discussion of health care reform, and what we see evolving in mental health services,” Ms. Power said. “The article describes the collective thought process behind embracing change and accepting transformation of the health care system as part of our future. We’re already adapting the public health model. As a Nation, we’re turning our focus toward health and away from illness. That means person-centered care. Recovery-oriented care. Community-minded care.”
To get buy-in from the mental health field, CMHS initiated an extended dialogue among stakeholders.
Looking back at the past 5 years, they helped forecast the next 5 years. Recurring themes included recovery as the expected outcome for mental illnesses, a customer-focused workforce in place, consumers directing their own care, use of evidence-based practices as the expected norm for services, and quality-driven, outcomes-focused systems operating to allow for continuous improvement.
“It’s all about applying what we’ve learned from our transformation work,” said Ms. Power.
For more information, visit the CMHS Web site.
“To move ahead, creating whole health, person-centered health care demands strategic change in several basic areas,” Ms. Power said, describing these strategies as a “natural outgrowth” of the CMHS vision. Specifically, the eight strategies are:
Public Health Strategy. Build the information base and resources on the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illnesses. The concepts of mental health promotion and mental illness prevention rest on the knowledge that mental health exists on a continuum, with neither health nor illness existing in pure isolation from one another.
Policy Strategies. Coordinate the role of mental health in evolving health reform, including the development of a national mental health policy. Mental health needs to be a top priority for our national dialogue and legislative action.
In addition, link health determinants to policy development in mental health and general health care. Without action to address the broader personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health and well-being, both individual and community health suffers.
As a policy priority, CMHS should lead the way in development of a standard mental health insurance benefit package.
Practice Strategies. Help states and communities adopt whole health, person-centered health care. Great strides have already been made in adopting recovery-oriented, person-centered health care, but some regions still need help.
In addition, there is a need to educate, train, and support a 21st century workforce. A culturally competent, multidisciplinary, high-tech health care environment is required.
Financing Strategy. Cultivate leaders in the public and private sectors who are informed about all aspects of mental health financing. CMHS is well positioned to help create shared objectives for public and private payers of mental health services to promote person-centered care.
Science to Service Strategy. Disseminate evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence by mapping resources to need. To address gaps in services, CMHS plans to make evidence-based practices available to those who need them most.
Leadership Strategy. Empower and mobilize leaders to shape, inform, and guide the mental health and general health care fields. Transformational leaders are needed for real change in the status quo. Those will include consumers, family members, and health care providers.
Performance Management Strategy. Develop a performance management culture that uses data to make financing and programmatic decisions. Results are key for programs that use public funds to provide health care services. Specific tools, reports, and surveillance are needed.
Technology Strategy. Harness evolving technology to promote involvement in treatment, services, and policy. Electronic communications, including the Internet, can promote health literacy, disseminate health messages, and support healthy behaviors.
“Looking ahead 5 years,” Ms. Power said, “the core change I hope to see is Americans wholeheartedly accepting the notion that mental health is essential to overall health and acting upon that truth. That’s the sea change we’re seeking.”
For more information, visit the CMHS Web site.
Citation: Power, A. K. A Public Health Model of Mental Health for the 21st Century. Psychiatric Services. 60:580-584 (2009).