COVID-19 is not the first, nor sadly the last crisis we will face as a country. COVID has already unmasked widespread systems failure, especially in caring for the most vulnerable among us. It is forcing the U.S. to re-examine its approach to mental health care and coverage, as well as how to ensure access to the vital conditions for individual and community well-being and resilience in the first place.
Specifically, the US was already having a mental health and addiction crisis long before COVID-19 hit. Now, we see the economic and social dislocations catalyzed by COVID, triggering even more mental health and addiction problems. The combination of social, economic, and health related factors make the current situation a perfect storm for a “second curve.”
What is the “second curve”? We know that with increasing unemployment and isolation will come a significant rise in rates of anxiety, depression, substance misuse and deaths of despair. So, while the physical threats of COVID are terrifying and must be addressed as priority #1 – it’s time we prepare for the 2nd curve addressing our mental health.
“We can all help flatten the 2nd Curve of rising mental health, addiction and harm-triggered by economic & social dislocation. This starts by turning to one another with kindness and compassion. But it also asks us to engage in supporting our behavioral health workforce and assuring much needed investment in the infrastructure.”
– Tyler Norris MDiv, CEO of Well Being Trust
To this end, Well Being Trust is calling for aligned systemic action on the Framework for Excellence – which is fast emerging as a comprehensive approach to achieving population level outcomes. An approach that provides for collaborative and distributed action, in COVID response now, and recovery over time. Find more on Well Being Trust’s Framework for Excellence and Healing the Nation policy guidance HERE
What is the Framework for Excellence?
The Framework is a guide for all stakeholders — providers, payors, purchasers, policymakers, philanthropy and civic organizations — to use in applying evidence-based strategies to improve mental health for all in in our country. It’s a roadmap, a process of sorts, that lifts-up the core elements needed to have measurable impact on mental health, addiction and well-being outcomes in our communities. For more on Mental Health and Well Being & Healing the Nation, see wellbeingtrust.org.