One in five Americans experiences a mental health condition in a given year, yet 56% of those individuals do not receive treatment. Many have co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. Addressing the array of care and service options from prevention and screening to early intervention and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders leads to higher quality of care and advancement of health equity.

To meaningfully improve the health of our members and communities, we must take a broad, holistic view of health. This includes using data and resources to understand and address the physical, behavioral, and social drivers of health. As we approach National Recovery Month in September, we champion this holistic, whole-health approach. Substance use disorder remains a key area of focus for our Foundation, which will invest up to $30M over the next three years to address this problem across the nation. More than $450,000 is being invested right here in Indiana, to help programs that support prevention and early intervention, crisis response and interventions, long-term intervention, and community resources and recovery supports.

Today, 9.5 million adults in the U.S. report having both a substance use disorder and a mental illness, with substance use disorders alone affecting over 20 million Americans aged 12 and over. These startling figures drive our commitment to partner with organizations who deliver solutions both on a local and a national level. To ensure our funding reaches the communities in which it is needed most, we are focusing on programs specifically working to prevent and treat mental health and/or substance use disorders, improve access and equity through trauma-informed approaches, and implement harm reduction strategies to reduce the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation knows a more personalized approach to improving health lies within communities, and it is our communities which hold the keys to making real progress. We continue to work with our local community partners across Indiana, including Overdose Lifeline, Youth First, and YWCA of Northeast Indiana, to provide meaningful solutions to achieve better health and to advance health equity.  

Our work with Overdose Lifeline in Indianapolis will be for the implementation of the ‘Making Our Moms Stronger’ program which will better prepare pregnant and parenting women for recovery. This program will support local women with self-esteem and self-efficacy skills including stress management coping techniques, developmentally appropriate discipline strategies and creation of early positive experiences for their children to ensure a strong, lasting family bond.   

In Evansville, we have worked with Youth First for many years supporting local youth through a variety of programs and once again we are coming together to expand their Prevention & Early Intervention in Indiana Schools program. This initiative will provide placement and supervision of 83 social workers in 109 rural, suburban, and urban schools stretching from Evansville to just south of Indianapolis. These mental health mentors will support the delivery of 322 evidence-based prevention programs in 13 counties and will be accessible to 48,000 Indiana youth put at risk by economic and health disparities, practitioner scarcity, substance availability, family addiction, and COVID-related stress and loss. The benefits of this program to our local youth will be immeasurable given the US Surgeon General’s declaration of a youth mental health crisis, and Indiana’s rank of last among all states for aggregated rates of depression, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, and suicide.

Finally, our collaboration with YWCA Northeast Indiana will boost their Hope & Harriet Addiction Recovery program, supporting women in pursuit of recovery from chemical dependency in a sub-acute medical setting. This program integrates high-quality, person-centered care and is guided by evidence-based addiction recovery practices tailored to treat adult women living with substance use disorder.  

We continue to foster a longstanding and deep local presence across our Indiana communities while focusing on community health and becoming a lifetime, trusted health partner. When we reimagine the health system, we create connections, remove barriers, advance health equity, and support health holistically. We encourage all Hoosiers to join us in supporting those experiencing mental health challenges or facing addiction now, during National Recovery Month, and throughout the year.

Dr. Kimberly Roop is the Medicaid Plan President for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana which serves more than 750,000 Medicaid members through the state’s Hoosier Healthwise (HHW), Hoosier Care Connect (HCC) and Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) health insurance programs, as well as a Foundation board member.     

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