Integrated Care gives people one point of service for both their mental health and physical health. With an Integrated Care system like GCBHS, behavioral health care and primary health care are literally in the same location. Primary care practitioners work alongside psychiatrists, performing regular health check-ups and screenings for things like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Practitioners can help coordinate medication side effects, and also work with patients on wellness and lifestyle education around exercise, smoking, and good nutrition.
Integrated Care Saves Lives
People with mental illness often have physical illnesses too—sometimes chronic (like diabetes or heart disease), sometimes acute (like the flu). In fact, more than 50 percent of people with serious mental illness have at least one co-occurring chronic medical illness. Those who are seriously mentally ill are two to four times more likely to die from a chronic physical illness than the general population. On average, they die 25 years earlier than the general population. Furthermore, medical conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases turn out to be the leading causes of premature death in people with schizophrenia.
The industry has identified Integrated Care as the best practice for combatting this health crisis among people with mental illness. GCBHS has partnered with primary health care providers to use this model.