Mental illnesses rarely exist in isolation from other medical conditions.

Less than simple

About one-third of people with a serious medical condition also have symptoms of depression. In addition, 10 percent of young adults with major depression, as well as 7 percent of adults with a serious mental disorder like bipolar disorder, have multiple primary health conditions. These include addictions and other social problems.

Given the complexity of mental illnesses and overall health, what is the best solution?

An integrated solution

For many illnesses integrated care that treats the whole person holds the most promise for recovery.

"Between $26 and 48 billion could be saved with effective integrated medical care."

Integrated care is based on a patient-centered, coordinated care approach where the patient’s individualized needs are served by a multi-disciplinary team. This team can consist of a partnership between families, schools, doctors and community organizations to coordinate comprehensive services.

Taking stock

This approach to treatment is producing positive outcomes, such as reduced thoughts of suicide, fewer dropouts and improved emotional and behavioral functioning.

Integrated care reduces health care costs. A recent report by the American Psychiatric Association in April 2014 concluded that between $26 and 48 billion could be saved with effective integrated medical care.

Recovery from behavioral health disorders means having good health. This entails managing symptoms of a mental or physical disorder, having a safe, stable home, a purpose in life and being part of a supportive community.