Counties Central on Post-Pandemic Mental Health Efforts

A report from NACo and the National Council for Behavioral Health details county governments role in mental health services, and illustrates a clinic-based model for that approach that may be well-suited for the post-pandemic environment.

This article is drawn from our partners at the National Association of Counties, whose blog routinely contains topics of major interest to Maryland counties.

America’s 3,069 counties are integral to the nation’s behavioral health system, making fiscal investments in both community health systems and behavioral health services, while also coordinating and delivering services for those with mental illnesses and substance use conditions. From the county to the federal level, there is growing concern about the COVID-19 pandemic’s long-term impacts on mental health and substance use and the threat of an ever-growing epidemic of deaths of despair from substance use and suicide. The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model is well-placed to respond to this anticipated surge with high-quality care that connects locally provided services to support treatment of a patient and the overall wellness of a community.

NACo has partnered with the National Council for Behavioral health to release a report outlining the tenets of the CCBHC model, which aligns federal funding with a renowned care model that is founded on person-centered treatment, care coordination and integration, evidence-based practice, timely access to services (including 24/7 crisis response) and the flexibility to deliver support outside the four walls of the clinic. The report also detail how counties can leverage the CCBHC model to address key policy priorities around mental health including:

  • Expanding access to addiction care and strengthening the local response to the opioid crisis
  • Serving more people in need of mental health services, including youth; and
  • Reducing wait times for treatment.

Click here to access the full report or here to access the CCBHC Success Center, a hub for data, support and advocacy for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic initiative.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties