Interoperability will help solve the world's behavioral health problems

What’s more common than diabetes, cancer, or heart disease? Mental illness (Behavioral Health). In the United States, 26% of citizens have a form of diagnosable mental illness. That is one in four people. The more severe mental disorders are present in 1 out of every 17 people. 

When it comes to relationships, self-esteem, and overall everyday life functions, the World Health Organization has estimated that mental illness affects half of the world population. The global cost of mental disorders in 2010 was $2.5 trillion dollars.

Did you know that the leading cause of all disabilities worldwide is an emotional, mental illness?

It is astonishing to think that mental health issues are having the greatest impact on people becoming disabled. The problem with using the phrase mental illness is the attached stigma we have to it. Our society has a prejudice towards the two-word combination. So because of this we have neglected one of the most important health issues of our time; MENTAL ILLNESS

For the sake of this article and to bring a more positive light on mental illness, we will be using the politically correct term ‘behavioral health.'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has discovered that neuropsychiatric disorders (issues deriving from the mind) are the leading cause of the world's disability problems. The World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative was created by WHO in 1998 to try and provide a plan to address the situation. WHO has been strongly advising countries to redesign priorities and make funds available to help improve the behavioral health issues worldwide.

Unfortunately, the biggest hold up for solving the world's disability problem is insufficient data.

Being able to gather large amounts of populace data is essential to unlocking the potential of a behavioral health plan. Information technology is the tool to healing millions of people. Through analytics, we can understand what conditions are causing the mental imbalances. Insights into environmental, economic, ancestry and social determinants can help us better understand what actions to take.

Being that this is a world problem we here at Rural Health IT Corporation (RHITC) have concentrated on interoperable data retrieving solutions that can work within outdated technologically challenged disparate systems. Our IT solutions have always had the goal to help the underserved. One of the ways we as the world can improve wellness is to set the intention of gathering data globally. Beginning with solutions that can integrate into any existing health information exchange regardless of the vendor or current workflows. 

Once we retrieve the data from all communities regardless of race or economic stature, we can help improve the collective mental health. 

Education is one of the primary ways to improving behavioral health. Mental health is dependent upon the emotional health, and emotional health is a component of understanding what makes a well-balanced person. Jane E. Myers, Thomas J. Sweeney, and Emeritus J. Melvin Witmer are three renowned professors that have developed a model for a healthy mind.

A healthy mind starts with five life tasks -

  • Spirituality
  • Work
  • Leisure
  • Friendship
  • Love and self-direction

Next are twelve sub tasks -

  • Sense of control
  • Emotional awareness
  • Sense of worth
  • Self-care
  • Sense of humor
  • Exercise
  • Realistic beliefs
  • Problem-solving
  • Stress management
  • Creativity
  • Nutrition
  • Gender and Cultural Identity

Treatment methods for helping an emotional, mental disorder include -

Biofeedback, expressive therapies, group therapy, psychotherapy, meditation, and spiritual counseling. 

 With health information technologies, we can interpret data and identify who is at potential risk. Then concentrate efforts on informing and empowering the particular individuals. The exciting and encouraging thing about helping people with behavioral health issues is how obtainable it is. By informing people and giving them an understanding of how their mental state is affecting their health, we can improve lives. 

It is time for the healthcare industry to acknowledge that a person's mental state dictates and plays an impact on overall wellness. Each of us at RHITC knows of at least one person that has struggled with behavioral health issues. We as a society need to allow this state of health to be more acceptable socially. We need to bring it out from the shadows and admit that everyone should be employing a mental health plan for themselves. 

Think about having a mental plan like a nutritional plan for the body; everyone can benefit from doing so.

When diagnosed with something like cancer, addressing behavioral health issues needs to be part of the healing program.

Even if someone has had no significant mental health problems, he or she can be at risk when faced with a physical illness or injury. Psychological and emotional issues can arise amidst physical diseases. Acknowledging and understanding the impact on the mind can help increase the chance of healing. The mind-body relationship is integral to improving the wellness of the world. At times, it is challenging to distinguish between the two because they are so dependent upon each other. That is why the leading cause of disabilities is emotional, mental disorders.

We already see some useful data becoming available. We are finding that behavioral health issues are contributing to substance abuse problems. West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nevada, and New Mexico have had significant increases in addiction over the last decade. West Virgina has seen a 600% increase. The factors contributing to the rise are poverty, low education, and easy availability to prescription opioid-based painkillers. 

See detailed report used to comprise this article HERE


We can help!

Do you need funding to make the interoperability of healthcare data possible for your organization?