Providence St. Joseph Health has announced its first three grants to improve access to mental health care across the nation. The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, a Providence St. Joseph foundation now called the Well Being Trust, is awarding the grants for the development of evidence-based practices that will help emergency departments provide quicker access to services for people who are mentally ill or substance abusers.
EDs and primary care clinics have struggled to meet the needs of growing numbers of patients with mental health and substance abuse issues. Hospital emergency departments have seen cases involving mental illness and substance abuse rise from 4.4 million visits in 2002 to 6.8 million in 2011. Despite these numbers, many people who are mentally ill can’t access treatment.