One in four people in the world are affected by mental or neurological disorders and around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
And the picture is not bright in Indiana. Mental Health America (MHA) ranks the state 42nd for the prevalence of mental illness and less than optimal access to care.
IU Health Bloomington Hospital has long been the safety net for caring for patients with mental health disorders. That commitment will continue with the opening of the new Regional Academic Health Center in 2021, offering 24 inpatient beds as well as 8 beds in the Emergency Department for patients needing psychological evaluation.
Improving Access to Treatment
Due to the opioid crisis there has been an influx of patients seeking substance abuse-care that has not always been easy to find or access. In response to the desperate need within our community, IU Health opened an outpatient addiction treatment program in Bloomington in November of 2018 and plans additional services with a million dollar investment from the IU Health System’s Behavioral Health Collaborative.
“The IU Health Bloomington Hospital Addictions and Treatment Program is evidenced based and offers hope for people in this region of the state struggling with addiction of one form or another,” says Michael Kane, MD, Addictions Medical Director for IU Health.
The main focus of the program is on using individualized-treatment interventions that are most successful in addressing and treating substance abuse disorders. The program pairs intensive outpatient therapy three-to-five times a week, with medically-assisted treatment to decrease withdrawal side effects. It also includes a family therapy component. The program is the second to open within IU Health and is modeled after the program at IU Health Methodist Hospital which has a 60 percent sobriety success rate after six months.
IU Health has also recognized the value of Peer Recovery Coaches who bring the experience of recovery, combined with training and supervision, to assist others in initiating and maintaining recovery. Coaches are available in person at IU Health Bloomington Hospital’s Emergency Department through a partnership with Centerstone.
Expanding Rural Options
The Peer Recovery concept is catching on – virtually – at IU Health’s smaller facilities in the South Central Region.
Peer recovery coaches are available to patients at IU Health emergency departments in Paoli and Bedford through a virtual service that enables access to behavioral health expertise found in larger urban hospitals. Patients are assessed when they come into the emergency department as someone at high risk for, or struggling with, a substance use disorder. ED personnel then connect patients with the recovery coaches who interact live.
“Addressing the growing addiction problems in Southern Indiana is a priority,” says Larry Bailey, President of IU Health Paoli Hospital. “Having around the clock access to experts when help is needed most during critical moments is an important key.”
Support continues after the patient leaves the hospital. Recovery coaches follow up with individuals within 48 hours of initial contact.
Help Where it is Desperately Needed
According to a 2017 report by the Indiana State Department of Health, between 2011 – 2015, Morgan County ranked second in the state in emergency department visits for nonfatal overdoses making it a top priority for IU Health.
Through a generous grant from the Kendrick Foundation, IU Health Morgan is piloting an innovative, cost-effective telehealth service delivery model to make intensive outpatient treatment and medication-assisted treatment available at its facility. While the live service is offered at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Morgan County patients will be able to participate from IU Health Morgan.
Catching it Early
Primary care providers routinely screen patients for mental health concerns and refer them to a counselor. Often the appointment can take months. Through a new pilot program offered in Bloomington, patients are now linked to a therapist on the very same day.
“By using telehealth we can connect the patient and a therapist right away so they don’t fall through the cracks,” says James Laughlin, MD, Chief Practice Officer, IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians.
“I am proud of the progress we have made in the last 18 months to greatly expand services related to substance abuse in our service area,” says Brian Shockney, President, IU Health South Central Region. “In order to be a healthy community, we must be there to care for our patients no matter their issue.”
For more information on how to access behavioral health or substance abuse services, please call 812.353.5630.