Behavioral health conditions affect nearly one of four Americans each year, however access to behavioral health is a challenge in many communities. Behavioral health conditions such as depression can impede efforts to improve physical health and the self-management of chronic conditions if not addressed in tandem. Additionally, behavioral health support may come into play on an as needed basis when experiencing common changes such as starting school, managing stress, and implementing needed life style changes.

By integrating behavioral and healthcare teams, patient’s needs are identified and addressed in an environment supportive of whole person care without negative stigmas.  Various models exist across the country including fully integrated behavioral health and primary care, in-house, co-located, or virtual (e.g. telehealth) providers, and collaborative compacts with behavioral health resources.

With funding from the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fund of The Denver Foundation, Jewish Family Service has assessed and implemented plans to address significant gaps in behavioral health care for Coloradans.

Case Study

Identifying and addressing patient behavioral healthcare needs requires primary care practices to develop processes and workflows for practice staff and providers.

Utilize the chart below to discuss the workflow and identify areas for process improvement projects to improve behavioral health processes and outcomes.


Behavioral Health Integration is often talked about as if it is a matter of how integrated the behavioral health services will be with primary care. The truth is, that is just one piece of the puzzle but it is a consideration. Listed below are several models of integration to choose from:


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Health Resources and Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions (SAMHSA-HRSA CIHS) defines integrated care as “the systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare.” Those with mental and substance abuse disorders often have chronic illnesses that go undiagnosed or untreated because of their disorders and the difficulties navigating the healthcare system.


Measuring the Effectiveness of Behavioral Health Management

Boulder Community Health, Boulder, Colo.; system affiliated (5 CPC sites); 22 physicians, 1 PA; 30,000 patients