November 29, 2023

Tapping into an array of mental health options

Pavan Somusetty, MD, explains how people who need support and guidance can find the care that’s right for them.

Mental health conditions are on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 50% of people in the United States will have a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, and young people are reporting mental health struggles at higher rates than ever.

This is not only concerning from a mental health standpoint. Poor mental health is linked to a variety of negative physical health issues. This includes heart disease, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Pavan Somusetty, MD, psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon, shares how Kaiser Permanente’s innovative mental health and addiction care options are tailored to members’ individual needs, and how we are making it easier to talk about mental health.

Are mental health conditions on the rise?

The CDC reports that 1 in 25 people live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. In addition, kids and teens are facing record high rates of mental health conditions. The CDC also reported that 42% of U.S. high schoolers experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2021, with 22% reporting that they considered attempting suicide.

Why do you think this rise in mental health issues is happening?

Rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but other factors, such as loneliness and isolation, as well as increased engagement on social and digital platforms are likely contributing.

What is Kaiser Permanente doing to help with this mental health crisis?

Kaiser Permanente offers a full range of industry-leading mental health and addiction care resources for adults, teenagers, and children — available in primary care offices, in the hospital, or in specialty mental health and addiction clinics.

Our coordinated care teams take time to truly get to know you. We listen to your experience, strive to honor your preferences, and support you along a personalized care pathway that is designed to meet your unique needs.

You can talk about your concerns with anyone on your care team at any time and they’ll connect you to the support you need. You don’t even need a referral. In this way, we are at the forefront of helping people where they are, by getting them the care they need, when they need it, how they want it.

Does mental health and addiction care treatment work?

Research shows 47% of patients with depression receiving treatment in primary care at Kaiser Permanente experienced improvement in their depression symptoms after 6 months. That impact doubles when the primary care team is collaborating with the mental health team. We also see better outcomes for diabetes and heart disease when the patient’s mental health needs are addressed.

What kind of mental health services does Kaiser Permanente provide?

Our approach is fully integrated. We have behavioral health consultants, mental health screenings at every appointment, self-care apps, a 24/7 telephonic crisis team, embedded emergency department psychological services, self-referral therapy scheduling, video or in-person appointments, and residential facilities. If depression, anxiety, addiction and recovery, or other mental or emotional issues are interfering with your daily life, don’t wait to get help.

Learn more about mental health and wellness options at Kaiser Permanente.