NIHCM Newsletter / May 2019

Social Determinants of Mental Health

As mental illness and chronic health conditions become more common, leaders are looking at upstream solutions that can improve overall well-being by addressing social determinants of mental and physical health. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is providing over $125,000 in grants for community organizations working with vulnerable populations, including children and adults suffering from mental illness, homeless adults and families that are struggling financially. Health plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey are integrating care to ensure people can access behavioral health treatment through their primary care providers.

Choosing the Right Medicare Plan

Enrolling in Medicare can be confusing for people who are newly eligible for the program, and even those who have been beneficiaries for a few years can have a hard time figuring out whether they should switch plans. Additionally, Medigap plans will be changing for the first time in ten years beginning on January 1, 2020. To provide more clarity around plan options, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina is offering free Medicare information sessions at three locations throughout the state and via a mobile retail center.

Focus on Food Insecurity

Food insecurity negatively impacts health and academic success, and health leaders across the country are looking at new ways to address hunger in their communities.

In New Hampshire, the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack collaborated with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to donate 500 backpacks with nonperishable food for children who may not have enough to eat beyond free or reduced-price school lunches.

In North Carolina, Thrive NC will be presented by Blue Cross NC to bring together community leaders and members of the public to discuss solutions, work on service projects and raise funds to address food insecurity across the state.

Bringing Primary Care to the Classroom through Telehealth

Some parents lack access to pediatric care for their children, and others are unable to take time off from work to get their children to appointments. To address these problems, one North Carolina school participated in a pilot program to virtually connect children to care throughout the school day. In one year, the school observed over a 50% decrease in unnecessary emergency department visits for students seen via telehealth; over a 30% decrease in early dismissals from school due to illness compared to the previous academic year; and improved access to care. Given the program’s success, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is giving $750,000 over three years to expand virtual clinics to additional schools.

Healing the Healers

Faith leaders play an important role in helping communities recover from traumatic events like mass shootings, but where can faith leaders get support in shouldering the collective grief of a community alongside their own? Healing the Healers is a five-part video series that seeks to help meet this need, and to better understand how faith leaders are affected by mass trauma. Free resources are available on their website.

NIHCM Webinar - Communities of Change: Preventing Suicide

We lose someone to suicide every 12 minutes in the United States, and the suicide rate has increased almost 30% in the last two decades. Yet suicide is preventable with treatment and support.

The third part in our Defying Despair series, this webinar will delve deeper into the data on suicides and explore a range of initiatives designed to prevent suicide in different communities.

Register Now

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting an event focused on strategies to prevent suicide on Monday, May 6, for National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Join the live webcast from 3 - 4:30 pm EDT for a discussion of evidence-based practices with suicide prevention experts, senior government officials and members of a family affected by suicide.

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