Driving Clinical and Community Transformation to Improve Mental Health Outcomes

By Tyler Norris, MDiv, Chief Executive, Well Being Trust

Led by a team of clinical, community, and policy innovators, Well Being Trust (WBT) brings a systems approach to prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health and substance misuse, while prioritizing an upstream focus on creating the conditions for intergenerational well-being.

Now, in the second year of our mission to advance the mental, social and spiritual health of the nation, Well Being Trust is actively building partnerships and making scores of investments targeted to improve clinical outcomes, reverse the growth of diseases and deaths of despair, and cultivate individual and community resilience.

Our clinical transformation portfolio is focused on integrating mental and physical health across the continuum of care, and advancing whole-person, whole-system design for services and supports. This includes building strong local and regional partnerships for clinical-community integration.

We are currently partnering with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to bring together eight leading health systems (paired with community partners) in an 18-month Learning Community set within pilot emergency departments. Participants are developing a change package that includes fully integrating behavioral health in emergency departments and the community to demonstrate that health systems can improve patient outcomes and experience while also reducing cost and preventable emergency room utilization by optimizing patient access to resources. Once completed, the work is designed for spread across the nation.

Additionally, WBT is partnering with the Providence St. Joseph Health System via the establishment of a Clinical Performance Group — a multi-year learning collaborative that is addressing three of the most pressing and cost-driving challenges: 1) integrating behavioral health into primary care; 2) transforming substance use treatment and services; and 3) finding better ways to care for people with mental health issues in the emergency department and in diverse community settings.

At the same time, our Well Being Legacy initiative is convening leaders from over 25 communities and 60 national organizations — to address the organizational practices, public policies and use of capital markets that can help assure access for all to the vital conditions for well-being in the first place. A formative national alliance is beginning to work across lines of sector, place, and politics to create a trans-partisan policy and investment strategy for well-being in the nation.

Furthering our community-focused work, WBT is investing alongside Kaiser Permanente, Providence St. Joseph, and others in Be Well OC (Orange County, CA) to help create a dynamic ecosystem of interconnected stakeholders, each charged with improving access, quality of care, and population health outcomes more cost-effectively and with better value. This “ecosystem” is addressing prevention, early intervention, crisis aversion, stabilization and acute care, and recovery by focusing on physical health, mental health, and substance use services. The comprehensive model, which seeks to create population level outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable, is being built for widespread adaptation across the country.

And, lastly, for the second year, we are sponsoring the Mental Health and Well Being Track at the IHI National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. The track includes exciting and innovative presentations and learning opportunities. Bring us your ideas, challenges, and readiness to create results. We look forward to learning, listening, and engaging with you.

Follow us (including myself and Ben Miller) on social media to see what we’re up to during the conference: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

Well Being Trust is an Oakland-based impact philanthropy with a mission to advance the mental, social and spiritual health of the nation.

Tyler Norris, MDiv, is chief executive, Well Being Trust. Over the past three decades, Tyler has shaped health and development initiatives in hundreds of communities in the US and around the world. He has an extensive background as a social entrepreneur, animateur, and trusted advisor to philanthropies, health systems, government agencies and collaborative partnerships working to improve the health of people and places.