Patient advocates, state officials, and healthcare executives spoke about the challenges and the promise of integrating behavioral and physical health services at a briefing hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and sponsored by the Well Being Trust on Thursday.
"One person, every four minutes, dies in this country from drugs, alcohol, or suicide," said Ben Miller, PsyD, chief strategy officer for the trust.
Last year alone that's 142,000 lives lost, he noted.
In addition, the U.S. saw a 25% uptick in suicides from 1999 to 2016, according to a CDC report.
"Once you realize that something is not working, it is unethical to continue as if it is," said Miller, quoting, Maureen Bisognano, the advisory council chair of the Well Being Trust.
One approach to merging behavioral and primary care is to meet people where they are, literally.