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The large state mental hospital in my hometown has closed in the past few days. It’s part of an effort by my state (Georgia) to move patients from state hospitals to community-based settings. It’s brought concerns from healthcare facilities and members of the community about how to care for these patients.
This shift to community-based care is being seen across the country, and isn’t expected to go away anytime soon. One in four people have a behavioral health disorder (mental illness or substance abuse disorder) each year, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA). Healthcare providers are moving from being reactive to proactive in their treatment of the mentally ill.
Here are some examples of how hospitals are integrating behavioral health and primary care, according to the AHA: