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New Study Highlights the Need for Improved Behavioral Health

New Study Highlights the Need for Improved Behavioral Health

It goes without saying that behavioral health management is focused on partnering with hospitals and clinics to provide excellence in care for their patients. But providing better care goes above and beyond just the actual services patients receive. It reaches across an organization’s entire operations. And in every organization, there is room for improvement.

We believe the mental health industry should never stop pursuing better behavioral health care. Striving to get better is just the right thing to do. But if anyone within our industry needs motivation, a study just published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal should do the trick.

The study suggests that 50% of all American adults will eventually be diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder by age 75. This statistic is alarming. Half of us will experience a diagnosed mental health issue at some point in our lives. If that is not motivation to improve behavioral health care service delivery, we do not know what possibly could be.

Differences Among Men and Women

The above study mentioned was a cross-sectional study of statistical data compiled between 2001 and 2022. The data was generated by epidemiological surveys among adult respondents aged 18 and older. All were part of the WHO’s World Mental Health survey program.

The key finding was the reality described in the introduction to this post: by the age of 75, half of us will have been diagnosed with at least one of 13 DSM-IV mental health disorders. Researchers did not look at survey data by ethnicity. But they did compare results between males and females. Surprisingly, there were some differences.

The top two disorders men are likely to be diagnosed with are:

  1. Alcohol use disorder
  2. Major depressive disorder

The top two disorders women are likely to be diagnosed with are:

  1. Major depressive disorder
  2. Specific phobia

In regard to that last condition, specific phobia is an anxiety disorder that manifests itself as an extreme, persistent, and excessive fear of something in particular. It can be fear of a circumstance, activity, etc. It can even be fear of an object.

The fact that men and women are likely to develop different mental illnesses as they age suggests that we need even more research into how mental illness affects the sexes. This is one particular area in which our knowledge is extremely limited.

The Focus on Older Adults

As a behavioral health management provider, this most recent study gives us cause to seriously consider whether the services we provide have enough of a focus on older adults. As a person gets older, the chances of being diagnosed with a mental illness goes up. This is key.

A few years ago, there was a lot of discussion within the healthcare community about meeting the needs of older patients. With a gradually aging population and people living longer than ever before, the discussion focused on the fact that older patients will be accessing healthcare services more frequently over the coming decades. Healthcare would need to adjust to account for an increasingly older population.

The WHO study data seems to suggest the same thing within mental health. It seems pretty likely that more older patients will need mental health services in the coming years. Are our hospitals and mental health clinics ready to serve a larger number of older patients? If not, now is the time to do something about it.

Our goal in behavioral health management is to help clients efficiently and more effectively deliver behavioral health care services. If we can help your organization improve, please contact Horizon Health.

Let’s Get to Work, Together

Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.