Integrating behavioral health services into a primary care system is about more than providing mental health and substance use services. Integration involves changes across an organization’s workforce, administration, clinical operations, and more. Building and sustaining integrated care means all facets of the organization must reflect the values of whole health, collaborative care, and the understanding that successful clinical outcomes are everyone’s responsibility.
Behavioral health integration encompasses the management and delivery of health services so that individuals receive a continuum of preventive and restorative mental health and addiction services, according to their needs over time, and across different levels of the health system. Successful integration involves more than increasing access to behavioral health services through enhanced referral processes or co-location; the system of care delivery is transformed.