Outcomes Network Roundtable Discussion
Lowering the stigma — opportunities and challenges in integrating digital mental solutions in underserved communities
At Veriteos, we take a collective approach to advancing mental health outcomes for everyone — by building together with our partners and communities in the Outcomes Network. It is vital that we create opportunities for all stakeholders to exchange ideas, foster collaboration, and share learnings with one another to ensure we can deliver impactful outcomes to the communities we serve.
Recently, we hosted our inaugural invite-only virtual roundtable discussion event bringing together mental health experts, community healthcare leaders, as well as executives representing our Outcomes Network partner organizations in addressing mental health stigma experienced by underserved communities.
Everyone brought their rich lived experience and insights from their respective careers. We’re proud to learn from a group that represents so much diversity in terms of their individual background, as well as the perspectives as different stakeholders across a wide gamut of the healthcare industry shown below:
We’re excited to share our recap and takeaways from this roundtable discussion. We will continue to build from these learnings to improvements in mental health outcomes in the communities we serve, and we hope the wider community can also benefit from the knowledge imparted by an exceptional group of changemakers.
In the roundtable discussion, we primarily focused on 3 topic areas:
- Approaches and tactics to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health care services in the community setting.
- Operational realities of managing mental health care in community clinics.
- Lessons learned when implementing digital health approaches in underserved communities.
One of the key topics we discussed was “approaches and tactics to reduce stigma associated with seeking mental health care services in the community setting”. From the conversations, we learned that it is fundamentally necessary for all stakeholders within the healthcare and communities to encourage and create a safe space for everyone to share about their mental health, while honoring where people might be on their journey. Healthcare providers can, for example, share their own lived experiences to create trust with their patients. It is also important to acknowledge that stigma affects everyone differently — some may not be open to sharing, but nonetheless a change in setting or peer-supported medium may influence a person’s tendency to reveal their struggles; it is not uncommon where social workers and nurses have a deeper contextual understanding in a patient’s life story than a doctor or therapist. Despite the wide-ranging efforts undertaken by various stakeholders within the community attempting to reduce stigma, it’s worth noting that “it takes time and vulnerability to build trust”, said Ivelyse Andino, CEO and Founder at Radical Health. In order to be successful, we all must be ready to commit the time, energy and resources to be deeply woven into the fabric of the community we serve.
We also exchanged stories and learnings on the “operational realities of managing mental health care in community clinics”. Upon hearing the experiences from many of the attendees, we were enlightened by the economic and operational challenges many community health clinics are experiencing. “Only 4% of behavioral health needs are currently being delivered in our primary care setting”, said Guy Fish, MD, CEO and President at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Massachusetts. This is evidently exacerbated by the shortage of behavioral health care professionals, which brought tremendous pressure on providers to treat and care for people from underserved communities with the most acute mental health needs. Additionally, there is a desire to adapt mental health interventions into experiences that are more contextual and enjoyable for the patients, including providing relevant tools and health literacy for patients to care for themselves, effectively removing potential access barriers by meeting people where they are.
Last but not least, as digital mental health products are emerging as the solution to bring mental health services to the masses owing to their scalability, they are not the panacea many have hoped for to address the mental health crisis we’re currently experiencing. While sharing the “lessons learned when implementing digital health approaches in underserved communities”, many of the attendees emphasized the imperative for companies and providers to build trust with the people they serve. “Culturally competent care with racial, ethnic, and linguistic concordance shouldn’t be an afterthought”, Daniel Turner-Lloveras, MD, Executive Director at The Latino Coalition Against COVID-19, underscored. By incorporating local resources that are already familiar to the people within the community, into a coordination program that provides a personalized yet seamless experience throughout one’s journey as a mental health patient, we believe our approach has the opportunity to deliver significant outcomes improvement to the underserved population, one community at a time.
In summary, we embrace the process of continual learning from our partners and communities, as well as looking for ways to expand our partnerships in enabling better outcomes for everyone at a greater scale. The future of community-centric care navigation for mental health is bright — we’re thrilled to be pioneering our effort in rethinking and democratizing mental health care for the underserved communities alongside our Outcomes Network partners. As Shelina Davis, MPS, MSW, CEO of Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), aptly put it: “mental health care shouldn’t be confined within the four walls of clinics.”
We can’t wait to host our next roundtable discussion as we look to share new ideas and learn from our community of healthcare leaders. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending future events.
We would like to thank all the following individuals (in alphabetical order) for sharing their insights and experiences to the roundtable discussion:
Adam Dole (COO, Bento); Anna Mandeville, MD (UK Clinical Director, Koa Health); Adrian Aguilera, PhD (Professor, UCSF S.O.L.V.E Health Tech); Alberto Ibarra, PsyD (Mental Health Program Lead, MiSalud); Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, MD (CEO, Teku Family & Community Mental Health); Caroline Ragot (VP Product, Koa Health); Celeste James (VP Health Equity & Population Health, Big Health); Cindy Blanco Ochoa (Director of Operations, MiSalud); Daniel Turner-Lloveras, MD (Executive Director, The Latino Coalition Against COVID-19); David S. Williams III, MBA (CEO, Care3); Devon Huff, MD (CEO, MiSalud); Dulce Ruelas, DrPH, MPH, MS, CHES®, CBC (President, LatinaStrong); Franziska Eckardt (Product manager, Koa Health); Guy Fish, MD (CEO, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center); Hannah Kumar (Innovation & Policy, Big Health); Ivelyse Andino (CEO, Radical Health); Jaclyn Satchel, LCSW-S, PMH-C (Director, Therapists In Tech); Kimmi Le, PharmD (Partner, ARK Living); Kristian Ranta (CEO, Meru Health); Nayan Ghosh (Head of Commercial Strategy, Wise Therapeutics); Petra Fimbres (CEO, LatinaStrong); Reginald Swift, PhD (CEO, Rubix LS); Shelina Davis, MPS, MSW (CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute); Terrence Hight (CEO, Hight Health).