Health Session Recap

The Philanthropy Roundtable's Health Program explores strategies donors can support to help Americans achieve better health and wellbeing, with a focus on mental health, medical education, and innovation in health and health care.

Diseases of Despair: The Private Sector’s Response

As COVID-19 creates a second wave of illness and death related to depression, suicide, and other diseases of despair, vast chasms in our health system’s capacity to treat mental illness have been laid bare. In this conversation with Matthias Bowman and Gary Mendell, attendees learned about two important private-sector initiatives that are creating much-needed change by tackling the broken health care system head on.

Bowman, representing The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use, introduced this employer-based initiative that works to increase access to and quality of mental health treatments for all Americans. This model emphasizes a collaborative approach to mental health, where behavioral health specialists coordinate care with the patient’s primary care provider and a consulting psychiatrist.

Shatterproof, led by Mendell, works to remove barriers to mental health care by dismantling the negative stigma around addiction treatment and advocating for policy changes at the state level that increase access to quality care. To address the access gap for quality addiction treatment, Shatterproof created an easy-to-use platform called ATLAS (Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform). By removing the stigma around mental health and allowing more people to seek evidence-based treatment, our country will save billions of dollars—and even more importantly, thousands of lives.

Closing the session, when discussing the value of investing private dollars into behavioral and mental health treatment, Bowman said, “This is just common sense…Get it going and it will grow on its own.”

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