As national recognition of the need for a better mental health care system in America grows, states are the front line for implementing reforms. The reforms taking place involve multiple agencies, numerous income streams, and require an entirely new way of approaching and treating individuals who are living with behavioral health issues. Yet such reform efforts are hampered by a range of financial, political, economic and cultural obstacles. These barriers can limit opportunities for cross-system collaboration, highlighting the need to break down policy silos and engage in discussions based on collaboration and data.
The Behavioral Health + Economics Network, known as BHECON (pronounced “beacon”) unites diverse stakeholders in a series of forums to examine and advance policy reforms that strengthen states’ behavioral health delivery systems. Led by the National Council for Behavioral Health along with its state partners, BHECON participants include individuals and organizations recognized for their commitment to improving the lives of people living with serious mental illness as well as representatives from the behavioral health, criminal justice, and public safety sectors, along with individuals from the broader medical field. In addition to the forums, BHECON developed the Behavioral Health Research Hub, a central repository for health economic data and research on the spillover cost of untreated mental illness, along with other important topics in access to care.