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The Kennedy Forum is working to ensure that patients get the mental health care they need through innovative care models and improved care coordination.

The System We Need - Integration

Although effective treatments exist for most forms of mental illness, too many Americans don’t receive the mental health care they need. This is in large part because our specialty mental health care system does not have the capacity to serve this population. Increasing access to quality care will require a comprehensive strategy that fosters integration of behavioral health into our primary care system and coordination of care throughout our public systems.

People living with untreated or inadequately treated mental illnesses and addictions often live shorter and sicker lives because of untreated and preventable chronic illnesses. Integrated care programs can improve care for the millions of patients who have medical and mental disorders by providing both medical and mental health care in the same clinical setting.

The Kennedy Forum is working to advance evidence-based integration models, like Collaborative Care, that have been proven to achieve the Triple Aim of health care reform: better patient outcomes, increased patient and provider satisfaction, and a lowering of health care costs.

Why It Matters

  • Mental illness costs the US nearly $200 billion each year, yet only 1 in 3 patients who are diagnosed with a serious mental illness receive minimally adequate treatment.

Focus Group Participants

  • Carol Alter, MD

    AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

  • Charles Engel

    RAND Corporation

  • John Fortney, PhD

    University of Washington

  • Margot Friedman, JD

    Dupont Circle Communications

  • David Gastfriend, MD

    Treatment Research Institute

  • Garrett E. Moran, PhD


  • Irvin Muszynski

    American Psychiatric Association

  • Joe Parks, MD

    Missouri HealthNet

  • Karen Sanders

    American Psychiatric Association

  • Michael Schoenbaum, PhD

    National Institute of Mental Health

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A doctor and patient discussing treatment options in the System We Need

The System We Need Video

Learn about the key opportunities to push for the system we need.