The prevalence of behavioral health conditions is greater than the five most common chronic health conditions combined — heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and diabetes. By treating behavioral health issues, overall health will improve.
Recognizing the importance between behavioral health and overall health, in 2017, Premera Blue Cross launched a $3 million Social Impact Program aimed at supporting behavioral health issues, particularly in underserved communities.
Last year, Premera granted $175,000 to Rising Strong, a partnership between Catholic Charities and Empire Health Foundation. Rising Strong is a family centered drug treatment program with housing for the entire family. It serves families with children at risk of entry to foster care due to abuse or neglect by parents with substance abuse disorder.
“It is clear that behavioral health is inseparable from physical health. If you are severely depressed, you will not be able to effectively manage your diabetes, control physical pain, and you may self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs which can lead to addiction,” said Dr. Shawn West, Medical Director for Provider and Customer Engagement at Premera.
Premera launched a multimedia-driven Social Impact Report, which can be read here. The piece highlights the importance of why the company is stepping up to address behavioral health and how Premera is partnering with nonprofits in Alaska and Washington to creatively find solutions.