National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems rebrands amid opioid epidemic
The National of Psychiatric Health Systems has adopted a new name to reflect the organization's broader scope as it addresses the ongoing opioid epidemic and identifies further opportunities for integrating behavioral and physical healthcare.
The not-for-profit Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, which lobbies for the country's largest psychiatric healthcare providers, has been renamed the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, according to President and CEO Mark Covall.
Along with the name change, Covall said the group plans to introduce a new tag line: "Access, care and recovery," which he said more accurately reflects the organization's current and future priorities.
He said the decision for the name change was in part to recognize the growing prevalence of substance abuse within the population of patients with mental health disorders. In 2014, the number of adults who experienced both a behavioral health and substance use disorder was estimated at nearly 8 million, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
According to SAMHSA, the coexistence of the two disorders can be especially complex to diagnose, which often results in patients receiving treatment for one disorder but not the other.
Covall said the name change also reflected the importance the organization placed on advocating for the integration of behavioral health within the overall healthcare setting.
A growing number of healthcare providers have taken steps in recent years to integrate behavioral healthcare services into primary care in recognition of the role mental health plays in a patient's physical health outcome.
"Our organization and our members have been advocating for integration of the mind and body," Covall said. "We can't treat the mind separate from the body—that's the direction we believe behavioral healthcare is going, and that's really a major reason why we wanted to change our name to more accurately describe the state of care and treatment."
In terms of advocacy work, Covall said the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare's mission will not change regarding behavioral health issues, but the organization intends to put more emphasis on substance use disorders.
"We want to focus on the patients that our members treat every day, and when you look at the patients that need mental health and addiction services, they really need a comprehensive approach," Covall said.
The renaming is scheduled to be officially announced today as the organization's annual meeting is set to begin Monday afternoon and run through Wednesday.
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