New HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration Incorporates Several of Housing Is Initiative's Policy Solutions

Date Published: 
September 28th, 2022

Housing Is to Host Roundtable on Next Steps on Behavioral Health Integration for PHAs 

In 2020, 52.9 million adults were affected by mental illness. However, challenges like access and affordability make it hard for people to access care. Behavioral health has been a major challenge for PHAs, as they try to stabilize households while also navigating high rates of mental health diagnoses and substance use disorders. CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative has been advocating for and raising awareness of greater mental health integration to support PHA residents.

CLPHA applauds the Administration’s focus on the nation’s mental health crisis and appreciates the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) recently released Roadmap to address the mental health crisis through behavioral health services integration. The brief identifies the 8 largest barriers for behavioral health service integration and offers current and planned actions HHS is taking to address the challenges. Some of these actions include expanding Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP behavioral health coverage; providing trauma-informed resources for communities after crisis; and integrating behavioral health professionals into schools. HHS plans to implement these actions by: 

  • Increasing coverage for interprofessional care conversations with behavioral health professionals to integrate them into holistic care teams  
  • Allowing behavioral health providers to bill Medicare for their services without having to be directly supervised by a physician 
  • Promoting behavioral health integration and equitable access to trauma-informed resources for communities that have recently faced civil unrest, community violence, and/or collective trauma through SAMSHA’s Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) program 
  •  Supporting schools to implement quality health education, connect students to health and behavioral services, and establish safe and supportive school environments through The CDC’s What Works in Schools Program   
  • Incorporating a trauma-informed approach in programmatic supports within training and technical assistance from Head Start 
  • Providing funding for State Educational Agencies to build partnerships with State Mental Health Agencies through Project Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE)  
  • Funding research to identify and develop evidence-based mental health preventive interventions that are successful in low-resourced environments that otherwise do not have preventive programs in place 

While we are excited to see the improved steps toward cross-sector integration, CLPHA hopes greater action will be taken in the future to integrate behavioral health professionals into housing organizations and provide increased support to housing providers.

Join CLPHA’s Housing Is Working Group on October 11, 2-3pm ET, to discuss the behavioral health challenges, opportunities, and solutions you see at your PHA in this roundtable available only to CLPHA members.  


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