The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will soon be able to better assist those with mental health concerns, particularly those who take antipsychotic drugs or suffer from disorders post-pregnancy.
The California Department of Health Care Services and CenCal Health approved the expansion. The DHCS Behavioral Health Integration Incentive Program is funding $1,161,497 over 26 months.
“The Public Health Department’s Health Care Centers, homeless shelter clinics and behavioral health providers are on the front lines delivering compassionate care to people living with issues related to substance use and mental health,” public health director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso said in a statement.
“This funding supports programs for two distinct groups where access to care has previously been scarce,” she said. “This opportunity will increase our ability to provide a higher level of service for women who are pregnant or have recently given birth and have also screened positive for drug use and/or depression. In addition, the funding will foster the development of treatment programs for diabetes care for people with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.”
Currently, behavioral health specialists serve at each health care center and offer part-time support at the PATH Shelter in Santa Barbara. Substance abuse counselors work with the homeless population throughout the county in shelters and streetside.
The funding will add more resources to patients and expand access to care.
The program will be implemented through CenCal Health and incentivizes patient experience and care quality in two of the PHD’s projects.
The first project addresses the need for easier access to mental health and substance-use disorder screening and treatment for prenatal and postpartum patients. Postpartum depression affects one in every seven women post-birth, according to the National Perinatal Association.
Screening and treatment can help the patients and their families long-term.
Patients using antipsychotics to treat serious mental illnesses are more likely to become diabetic. Screening for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia helps manage symptoms of diabetes.
— Annelise Hanshaw