Our dedicated, skilled, and compassionate mental health professionals work hard each day to help reduce stigma, foster resilience, and promote healing through conversation, connection, and compassion. Our care approach and commitment to growing mental health resources ensure that members seeking our mental health services and addiction care have access to appointments in a clinically appropriate manner.
Expanding mental health services
There has been a national shortage of trained mental health therapists for years and Kaiser Permanente continues efforts to meet the ever-increasing demand for mental health care and wellness using a range of responses, including aggressive hiring activity. As Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii Health Plan and Hospitals, and Ramin Davidoff, MD, executive medical director and chair, board of directors, SCPMG and chair and CEO Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, shared last week, we hired nearly 600 therapists in California between 2016 and the end of 2020 — and we plan to recruit more.
We also increased mental health care solutions by embedding mental health clinicians in primary care and empowering trained primary care physicians to improve mental health outcomes. Integrated consultation and care can now successfully deliver depression care management in primary care settings.
KP supports in-house educational initiatives so that the number of mental health professionals increases — including those with bilingual skills and students from populations who reflect the needs of our communities. We also support the Mental Health Scholars Academy, an important initiative for advancing the education of mental health professionals.
Having the right mental health resources
KP provides the right mental health resources to help members and patients. Employees can reach out for these programs, tools, and resources as well to help support their mental health. COVID-19 and the social justice reckoning of the past year have impacted employees and physicians, each unique to the individual. Everyone can overcome the impact of the pandemic by also using these resources to help support their mental health and well-being.
Our People Recovery work, “Rise & Renew,” was recently developed to assist Kaiser Permanente employees in need to help deal with the grief and trauma brought on by recent events. We look forward to sharing more on this initiative with you shortly. Remember, nobody is ever alone. If someone is in crisis or is thinking of harming, please contact 1-800-273-8255. Trained counselors are available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Navigating through 2021 and beyond
KP remains dedicated to increasing access to appropriate and expanding mental health services. Ongoing dialogue is encouraged to help break down barriers and advance healing so that members and the communities we serve can rebound from trauma. We are committed to improving our mental health services and are grateful for our mental health care professionals’ continued dedication in 2021 and into the future.