Promoting Population Behavioral Health in a Safety-Net Health System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Psychiatr Serv. 2021 Apr 22;appips202000546. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202000546. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has been expected to lead to substantial increases in need for behavioral health care. A population health framework can facilitate the development of interventions and policies to promote the equitable distribution of care across the population. This column describes the application of population behavioral health principles in a safety-net health system during the pandemic. The approach includes stepped models of care, interventions to target individuals at high behavioral health risk, and measurement-based care. Early data suggest that these strategies have resulted in expanded behavioral health care capacity.

Keywords: COVID-19; community health services; mental health services; population health.