Eight leading U.S. medical associations have formed the Behavioral Health Integration Collaborative to help physicians include mental and behavioral health services in everyday practice.

The all-encompassing online toolkit provides educational material and best practice information regarding behavioral and mental health services. The collaborative includes everything from how to build telehealth services into primary care to relevant billing and coding practices.

There is growing recognition of the importance of providing these services. Although physicians may be willing and eager to engage, a study released earlier this year revealed cultural, financial, and educational barriers to proper service integration.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, the need for better mental and behavioral healthcare might only intensify. A tracking poll revealed 53% of Americans are feeling negative about their mental health. A CDC investigation indicated young people, ethnic and racial minorities, and essential workers are disproportionately affected. Clinicians might see the need for mental and behavioral health interventions daily, whether in the form of an irate visitor looking for answers about a loved one receiving care or a waiting patient with undiagnosed psychiatric needs slowly spiraling in the waiting room. Read more about all these subjects in a future issue of ED Management.