Sutter Health and Mental Health America Launch New Collaboration; Combined Effort Will Broaden Critical Access to Mental Health Services

Posted on Oct 2, 2017 in Expanding Access

New, first-of-its-kind Screening-To-Supports online tool and National Certified Peer Specialists certification are first key elements of initiative

Sutter Health, a leading not-for-profit health care system in Northern California, and Mental Health America (MHA), a national leader in mental health support, recovery and advocacy, today announced they will work together in the development of tools and resources that proactively address mental health concerns before they escalate. This collaboration is designed to provide earlier access and connect people with the support and services they need.

One in five American adults, or more than 40 million Americans, are dealing with a mental health concern; however, 56 percent of adults don’t receive treatment[i]. Cost, lack of access or awareness, social prejudice and stigma prevent people from accessing the mental health care they need to treat concerns associated with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, addiction and schizophrenia. Together, Sutter Health and MHA are enabling people to access support services in a way that’s convenient, safe, secure and confidential. By providing early screening and detection services through online channels, Sutter Health and MHA are expanding individuals’ ability to understand their own mental health wherever and whenever they need it.

In summary, Sutter Health and MHA are working together on two initial specific programs to broaden access:

  • With initial funding from Sutter Health, MHA is developing Screening-to-Supports (S2S), an innovative online tool that connects people with the mental health support and services they want and need in real-time. This program will use technology to customize each person’s results, and will offer support and services beyond what the original Screening Program MHA developed in 2014 offered.
  • Four domains of the new program include: 1) evidence-based mental health information tailored to someone’s specific concerns; 2) links to online support, telehealth and face-to-face consults; 3) tools people can use on their own to develop coping skills and track concerns, and; 4) peer-to-peer community engagement mediums where people can connect and learn from others with similar experiences.
  • Secondly, Sutter Health will begin integrating National Certified Peer Specialists (NCPS) into their workforce. NCPS’ are professionals certified by MHA with the highest levels of knowledge and skills to work in public and private mental health settings that can help bridge the gap on longstanding mental health workforce shortages.

“This is just the beginning of actions we are taking at Sutter Health to be a national leader in eliminating social prejudice and stigma around mental health and providing real solutions within our communities,” said John Boyd, Sutter Health CEO, Mental Health Services. “It’s more urgent than ever to put mental health on par with physical health, and MHA’s philosophy aligns with our integrated care approach to address all of our patients’ – and employees’ – needs.”

The enhanced S2S platform will launch this fall. In addition to the online tool, Sutter Health and MHA will work together to develop an evidence-based workplace mental health strategy and a public education campaign to target suicide and self-harm. The campaign will reach Northern California communities first, with the intent to develop a strategy that could take the campaign nationwide.

“As people have more options to seek support, it can lead to earlier interventions before mental health challenges escalate into crisis situations,” said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America. “By teaming up with a leading health care organization like Sutter Health, we can continue working to address mental illnesses before they reach crisis stage –as we say, before Stage 4 –and offer broader access to services for people to change the trajectory of their lives.”

[i] Mental Health America. The State of Mental Health in America. Accessed September 21, 2017.

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Expanding Access | Comments Off on Sutter Health and Mental Health America Launch New Collaboration; Combined Effort Will Broaden Critical Access to Mental Health Services