Two National Health Reports Highlight Mental Health Care Concerns for America’s Vulnerable and Underserved Populations
July 24, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - This summer two significant mental health reports, “The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands?” and “Enhancing the Delivery of Health Care: Eliminating Health Disparities through a Culturally & Linguistically Centered Integrated Health Care Approach,” were published. Both publications underscore the mental and behavioral health care needs of vulnerable and underserved populations and outline critical recommendations for addressing disparities.
“The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands?” was published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health’s Executive Director Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., was appointed to serve on the IOM’s study committee, which included national experts. The report reveals that America’s aging population is facing a mental health and substance abuse workforce shortage that will create grave difficulties for people trying to receive these services in the future if the issue is not addressed. One of the key recommendations that the report emphasizes is the importance of integrating behavioral health care services and primary health care services.
Similarly, the Hogg Foundation and the Office of Minority Health’s report, “Enhancing the Delivery of Health Care: Eliminating Health Disparities through a Culturally & Linguistically Centered Integrated Health Care Approach” points to integrated health care as a key component to eliminating health disparities. It is based on research conducted by the Hogg Foundation and a national consensus meeting which brought together national experts in health, mental health, substance use and addiction, integrated health care, and cultural and linguistic competency. The report identifies strategies that are successfully being employed by integrated health and behavioral health care practices.
“The integration of behavioral health and physical health care is an essential concept in ensuring healthy outcomes for all of our nation’s communities regardless of race, culture, language or age,” Dr. Martinez said. “The timing of both of these reports illustrates that there is a vital and rapidly growing need to integrate health care services to eliminate health inequalities.”
The Hogg Foundation has been working in the area of integrated health care since 2006 by awarding grants, establishing a statewide learning community, and hosting statewide and national events.
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by supporting mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.