As Project Access Northwest looks to add behavioral health to its roster of more than 50 specialties in 2021, we do it in partnership with organizations trying to fill gaps in this area and improve the lives of those struggling. Based on the model of the Pro Bono Counseling Project in Maryland, we are looking to create a network of volunteer providers who will commit to seeing one patient at a time, free of charge.

This program comes at a critical time for behavioral health, and we are not the only ones looking to innovate in this area. Our great partner Cambia Grove, through its fall 2021 TRAILS Competition, is focused on innovations around behavioral health. This competition has been designed to provide promising startups access to real-world feedback to refine their solutions to support health care system integration. The winner will gain a better understanding of how their product can be implemented to improve the health care system. Strong partnerships are exactly how we are going to make an impact in this region in the behavioral health space.

By the numbers

Here are some statistics shared by Dr. Marion Couch, Senior Vice President of Health Care Services and Chief Medical Officer at Cambia Health Solutions, Cambia Grove’s parent company:

  • Before the pandemic 1 in 5 people had a diagnosable mental health condition, but only 43% got treatment
  • The delay in getting treatment is 10 years from the onset of symptoms, per the National Institutes of Health
  • Only 20% of those with anxiety disorders, and 30% of those with mood disorders, will get treatment within a year
  • The Pacific Northwest is a high-needs area for mental health issues, yet also has the lowest number of mental health providers
  • Since the start of the pandemic, behavioral health visits have increased by 35%
  • More than $300 million is spent annually on avoidable medical expenses due to lack of behavioral health treatment
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there is an increase of women with alcohol and substance abuse issues
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country.

Removing barriers to care

One thing we focus on at Project Access Northwest is removing barriers. We know our patients face increased barriers due to several factors outside their control, such as the following cited by Dr. Couch:

  • No access to providers
  • Too expensive
  • The stigma attached to getting care
  • Patients chasing physical symptoms that really need to be addressed in the behavioral health space
  • Patients falling through the cracks

We know that we can help remove these barriers, and we are lucky to work in a region where so many care about the lives of those being underserved. We are excited to watch the terrific information coming out of this TRAILS Competition as we build out our program and look to innovate in this space. We know there is tremendous need in our region for behavioral health services, and we are fortunate to partner with organizations like Cambia Grove to tackle these important issues.

Stay in touch

Stay in the loop as our shared work takes further shape:

• Sign up for Project Access Northwest’s newsletter here or connect via LinkedIn

• Join Cambia Grove’s newsletter by clicking here or connect with them on LinkedIn