Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare strives to break down the barriers that prevent people with mental illness from gaining access to quality health care and health information. These efforts have led to the creation of our award-winning Integrated Healthcare Clinic, our partnership with Heartland Health Centers, and the establishment of Illinois’ first Occupational Therapy Program in community-based mental health. Our Integrated Healthcare Program (IHC) ensures that our clients have access to an array of healthcare options so they can find the wellness and nutrition program that will help them reach their goals.
Each May, Trilogy joins with Mental Health America in celebrating Mental Health Month. For more than 65 years, May has been recognized as Mental Health Month by people across the country and seen as a time to raise awareness about mental health. This year the theme of Mental Health Month is B4Stage4, which is aimed at getting people to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and reaching out for treatment of mental health disorders before they reach Stage 4.
Last year, we posted a recovery story from Barbara S., who began working with Trilogy and our Housing First Program in October 2013. Trilogy’s Housing First Program is designed to serve homeless persons who are living with a serious mental illness and/or who have co-occurring problems with alcohol and/or substance abuse. In Fiscal Year 2013, Trilogy was awarded $237,109 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program to assist 25 HUD-qualified homeless people in transitioning from the streets into permanent supported housing.
2014 was a very important year in the field of behavioral health care. In January, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, giving all Americans access to affordable health insurance options. The ACA expanded access to mental health services for 62 million Americans who were unable to access these important services before, making it the most monumental legislation involving behavioral health care since John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received a $144 million increase in federal funding, which meant more support for Primary Behavioral Heath Care Integration (PBHCI) and evidence based programs, among other things. In April 2014, President Barack Obama signed The Excellence in Mental Health Act into law. This legislation will establish pilot Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) programs in eight states and will increase access to community mental health and will create models for the standard of care at behavioral health centers across the nation. And, in July, the final rules for The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) were implemented. The law now requires “group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements (such as co-pays, deductibles) and treatment limitations (such as visit limits) applicable to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical/surgical benefits1.” This final ruling demonstrates that our federal government views behavioral health care services as an essential health benefit.
Advocacy is an important means of raising awareness on mental health issues and ensuring that mental health is on the national agenda of governments. Advocacy can lead to improvements in policy, legislation and service development.
Last month, Regina Moffett, Certified Recovery Support Specialist and Trilogy advocate, was the keynote speaker at the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Trauma-Informed Care Learning Community for Addictions Programs kick-off conference in Baltimore, MD. Her presentation, The Intersection of Trauma and Addictions: A Trauma-Informed Recovery, focused on Trilogy’s trauma-informed approach to addiction treatment.
Tags: recovery, trauma-informed care, trauma, mental illness, mental health, IDDT, substance abuse, national council for behavioral healthcare, Cheryl Sharp, peer specialist, mental illness awareness week
Less than a month ago the world received news of the passing of award-winning actor, Robin Williams, who completed suicide after years of publicly talking about his struggles with depressive moods and substance use. With Williams’ passing, the world joined together in mourning for a public figure who was admired by many and began conversations across social media platforms about suicide prevention and the stigma associated with both suicide and mental illness.
Since 2010, Trilogy has experienced substantial growth and numerous changes that have enhanced our ability to provide the most up-to-date behavioral health services to a historically underserved population. In 2010, Trilogy served 579 individuals living with serious mental illness. Today, we serve more than 1500 individuals each year. In 2010, there were approximately 60 Trilogy Team members working from 1400 W. Greenleaf to provide individuals with the best behavioral healthcare services available. We now have more than 235 positions spread across four offices in Chicago and Evanston and these employees are providing outreach, evidence-based clinical services and supports. And, in 2010, the Trilogy Beacon, our peer-led drop-in center, was just getting off the ground. With the support of a $330,000 Title XX grant we hired three part-time and two full-time Peer Specialists and an Employment Specialist. We opened the Trilogy Beacon with the intent of providing recovery services for approximately 400 participants per year who might otherwise not have access to treatment.
This July, Trilogy is proud to celebrate our second year as a smoke-free campus! Tobacco use kills 10 people per minute, which is nearly six million people per year. About 45% of annual tobacco-related deaths in the U.S. occur among patients with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Individuals who live below the poverty line are over 40% more likely to smoke than those above the poverty line and addiction is most likely to affect those with the least amount of information about the health risks and the least access to cessation services.
A person’s physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. Individuals who are living with a mental illness are more likely to live with co-morbidities, including heart disease; diabetes; and obesity, while exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms of certain mental illnesses, including depression. Trilogy focuses on fostering overall wellness for each employee and person served. We believe that people can and do make good choices for themselves when offered accurate information, a wide-array of recovery options, acceptance, and support which is why we have declared the summer of 2014 our Summer of Wellness!