Behavioral Health Integration

The need for comprehensive behavioral health services in the United States is massive: Nearly 1 in 4 American adults lives with mental illness, and 16.5% of people 12 and older have a substance use disorder.1

Despite the need and increasing demand for services, accessing treatment can be challenging and frustrating. Stigma has traditionally been the most significant barrier that prevented people from seeking services. Even with reduced stigma, people struggle navigating a complex mental health system, especially because they often don't know what they need or who to see. If treatment resources can be found locally, they can be expensive and booked weeks or even months in advance. These challenges are worsened by lack of early identification, broad care provider shortages, and limited resources.2

Collaboration within and outside of the healthcare ecosystem is key to addressing those challenges and, in turn, improving whole health. That belief is a driving force for our behavioral health subsidiary, Carelon Behavioral Health. Its partnerships and solutions aim to reduce care silos, improve outcomes, and ease burden for care providers.

Committing to Crisis Services

Given the tremendous and growing demand for behavioral health services, care providers simply don't have the capacity to meet it alone. We're focused on supplementing their efforts.

Fueled by adherence to evidence-based practices for crisis care and informed by community stakeholder engagement, the team uses cutting-edge technology and data-informed insights to ensure individuals have access to responsive and sustainable care when they need it most.

We intensified our approach to crisis services in 2023 with our support of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Carelon Behavioral Health quickly became one of the largest text and chat backup centers, as well as a Spanish subnetwork center for calls, texts, and chats.3 We supported the network with our size, scale, and skill for the first 18 months of 988 services. We are proud to have bolstered the network during the critical early days, as states have worked to put processes in place to take on their own volume.

On top of preventing suicides, this work helps connect people to the broader behavioral health system, reducing the burden for hospitals and first responders who are often tasked with helping people in crisis. We believe our platform has the potential to advance how behavioral healthcare is managed more broadly, while improving access and guiding people to the right resources at the right time.

The Impact of Crisis Counseling

This video highlights how one Carelon crisis specialist made a life-saving difference for a person in need.

Driving Change with EAP Offerings

We're also tackling behavioral health care demand with our Community Resource Navigator program, an optional add-on employers can offer through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

The program gives employees access to culturally competent resource navigators, available on-site or virtually. They offer one-on-one support for employees' social needs, whether related to housing, transportation, counseling, or other social drivers of health. The program also includes resources for managers to help them support employees struggling with those challenges.

To date, the Community Resource Navigator program has connected thousands of employees to community-based social supports.4

Through the Community Resource Navigator program, one large retail client with 30,000 eligible employee participants reported:4

7,562 referrals to the program.

99% of referred employees made progress toward resolving a social need.

99% of referred employees said they would use the service again, if needed.

The same retailer named us their Supplier of the Year for 2022.

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA Announces National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Results Detailing Mental Illness and Substance Use Levels in 2021 (January 4, 2023): 2 Mayo Clinic Health System: Overcoming Stigmas, Barriers to Mental Health Care (February 20, 2023): 3 Vibrant Emotional Health data (September 2023). 4 CarelonRx, internal analysis (January 2024).