Crisis Services, Peer Support Systems, and Increased Awareness of Stigma of Mental Illness Underscore Arizona’s Behavioral Health Services
PHOENIX, AZ – Mental Health America (MHA) publishes an annual analysis of the “State of Mental Health in America” and this year, as in last year’s report, the organization ranks Arizona poorly in terms of overall access to behavioral health care – a position that AHCCCS categorically disputes.
The MHA report fails to consider comprehensive data sources that would present a more complete picture of Arizona’s behavioral health system. Additionally, the report disregards critical components of behavioral health care delivery including Arizona’s nationally-recognized crisis network and a cadre of trained peer support specialists. In discussion with MHA, AHCCCS provided additional data and outlined exemplary work being done across the state. For example:
Arizona has prioritized efforts to reduce stigma associated with mental illness and increase awareness of available mental health resources. Together, these efforts contribute to increased self-reporting of mental illness, which in turn contributes to positive health outcomes. In this analysis, MHA penalizes states for increased self-reporting.
Arizona has committed significant state resources to create a rapid-response safety net crisis system that serves all citizens, regardless of insurance coverage. Across the state, 24-hour crisis response, community mobile teams, and urgent psychiatric care centers are available to anyone in need.
Arizona is a leader in innovative, community-based behavioral health care. Through independent credentialing, more than 1,300 trained peer support specialists and 2,800 credentialed peers deliver Medicaid-reimbursed services. MHA does not consider the contributions of trained peers in its workforce analysis.
Mental health is integral to overall wellness. Arizona continues to make strides in creating responsive behavioral health care system. One key to success is access to care at the moment of need. Be it crisis response, ongoing mental health treatment, or peer support systems, Arizona is committed to meeting the mental health needs of its citizens.