Healthcare is moving towards integrating physical and behavioral health. Viewing human beings holistically rather than in “silos” just makes common sense and decades of research bear this out. In an American Hospital Association Report from 2012 it was found that 29% of Adults with Medical Conditions also have a Mental Health Condition but 68% of Adults with Mental Health Conditions also had Medical Conditions.
The relationship between physical and behavioral health can be best understood by examining the findings of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACE) conducted by the Center for Disease Control in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and published in 1999. Adverse childhood experiences include such things as child sexual and physical abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental/familial mental illness or addiction and the death of a parent.
The ACE study provides a practical and evidence-based framework for integrated care because it occurs at the broadest intersection of physical and mental healthcare. The single most effective strategy to lowering healthcare costs and improving health is to effectively address ACEs across the lifespan and healthcare spectrum. Effective integration of psychosocial interventions that are offered by behavioral health services are a critical component of an integrated healthcare delivery system.