Understanding the Critical Need for Behavioral Health Services


masked woman listens to individual

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, healthcare experts across the country predict an increasing need for mental health and substance misuse treatments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 41% of people reported a negative impact on their behavioral health as a result of the pandemic, including symptoms of depression and anxiety. A study from this summer reported a 47% increase in crisis calls to national crisis hotlines, with some experiencing a 300% increase in call volume.

Increased stressors such as quarantine, isolation, food insecurity, finance-related anxiety, changes in employment, and other concerns are driving demands for behavioral health services. In the past several months, there has been a significant increase in prescriptions for antianxiety and antidepressant medications, with the majority being first-time prescriptions. As the pandemic continues to evolve, it's critical that individuals in need of behavioral health services can access much-needed care.

As the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the country, Centene supports many of our nation's most vulnerable citizens. In order to fully support the behavioral health needs of our membership, Centene Advanced Behavioral Health has outlined recommendations for improving health outcomes for vulnerable member populations in a recently published white paper. Recommendations fall into four categories:

  • Prevention
  • Screening and Intervention
  • Treatment Enhancements and Innovation
  • Federal and State Policy Recommendations

Access the full white paper here.

During this unprecedented time, Centene must continue expanding community partnerships and supporting the whole health of our membership. Further details on Centene's enterprise-wide COVID-19 relief efforts are found on our online Resource Center.