Publications / Innovation Landscape: School-Based Access to Behavioral Health Care for Youth

Innovation Landscape: School-Based Access to Behavioral Health Care for Youth

The past decade saw a worsening mental health crisis among youth nationally and in California. Marked by an increase in the number of mental health hospitalizations, deaths by suicide, and increases in depression and anxiety, the situation has been compounded by COVID-19 and measures taken to prevent its spread. This crisis is heightened for youth of color, who experience historic systemic racism and discrimination, impacting their behavioral health and access to care and preventive services.

About the Innovation Landscape Series

The Innovation Fund conducts a series of high-level landscape analyses on issues ripe for tech-enabled innovation. The Innovation Landscape Series aims to inform funders and customers in safety-net organizations seeking scalable solutions to meet their challenges.

In response, the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) announced in 2021 a historic, five-year, $4.4 billion initiative to reimagine and transform the way California supports children, youth, and families, called the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI). The Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP) is part of that initiative. It provides financial incentives to increase coordination among Medi-Cal (California’s term for Medicaid) managed care plans and local education agencies to improve access to and delivery of mental health services.

This publication contains interviews and surveys of managed care plans (MCPs) and local education agencies (LEAs) about their early efforts to partner with and design SBHIP programs, and the role they believe technology could play in increasing access to behavioral health care for students. Zeroing in on the three technology options available through SBHIP — behavioral health wellness programs, telehealth-enabled services, and behavioral health screenings and referrals — the authors engaged MCPs and education entities between March and July 2022 for their insights.

To help MCPs and LEAs understand the types of technology-based solutions available to address youth behavioral health needs, CHCF asked AVIA Health, a market intelligence firm focused on health care technology solutions, to provide a framework describing those solutions and aligning them with the needs expressed in interviews and survey responses.

About the authors

This issue brief was prepared by Claudia Page, senior advisor, and Madeleine Toups Tranchina, manager, at Manatt Health. Manatt Health integrates legal and consulting expertise to better serve the complex needs of clients across the health care system. Our diverse team of more than 160 attorneys and consultants from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and its consulting subsidiary, Manatt Health Strategies, is passionate about helping our clients advance their business interests, fulfill their missions, and lead health care into the future.

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