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Embracing new approaches to achieving recovery, resiliency

The State of Idaho and Optum are working together with one goal in mind: to transform the outpatient mental health and substance use system to better help people reach recovery and ensure that valuable tax dollars are used effectively.

A year into the transformation, more Idahoans are getting treatment that has been proven to work, supported by scientific research and the national medical and health care communities. This evidence-based care approach ensures that people receive care that best matches their diagnoses. This could include individual therapy, family therapy or peer support services, which are services that were not used regularly in the past, resulting in lost opportunities to help people achieve better outcomes.

The new approach is based on guidelines established by a variety of well-respected behavioral health care leadership organizations including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). We’re excited to be able to offer these services in Idaho because we’re seeing that when people get care that meets their needs, outcomes improve.

Idaho’s behavioral health transformation is focused on recovery-based care. This means that care centers concentrate on helping people achieve long-term recovery rather than focusing on symptoms. The guiding principle behind recovery-based care is that with the right care, people can improve their health and wellness, live a life in which they control their decisions and strive to reach their full potential. The focus is on the whole person and treatment is based on the individual’s health as well as their living environment, community support and ability to become self-sufficient.

A recovery-based approach is a national best practice supported by the APA, American Association of Community Psychiatrists, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Council on Social Work Education, SAMHSA, the Association for Addiction Professionals and other leading behavioral health organizations.

Changing a health care system doesn’t happen overnight. It requires care providers to adopt more evidence-based, effective therapies. There will continue to be challenges ahead, but in the long run, embracing new approaches will improve care and the health of Idahoans. We’re committed, along with the state, to getting people care that creates meaningful changes in their lives and puts them on the road to recovery. That’s a goal we can all rally around.


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