Well Being Trust sets initial commitments, funding priorities

August 1, 2017

Institute for Mental Health and Wellness gets new name and advances initial portfolio

By BETSY TAYLOR

The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, a new foundation to advance mental, social and spiritual well-being in the United States, has been renamed Well Being Trust.

The Oakland, Calif.-based trust was founded with a $100 million endowment and an additional $30 million dedicated to investments in California from Providence St. Joseph Health. It announced three initial commitments on June 7:

  • A two-year collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • A partnership with the Trust for America's Health
  • Grants to the California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative

The collaboration with IHI will be focused on improving the quality of care in the emergency department for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as addressing upstream factors. IHI is best known for the IHI Triple Aim, a framework to optimize health system performance by improving quality and safety, advancing the health of populations and lowering per capita costs. Tyler Norris, Well Being Trust's chief executive, said the collaborative's work will include a fourth aim of caring for caregivers — a goal that when combined with the Triple Aim is known as the Quadruple Aim.

Norris said the collaboration with IHI will include work to meet the health care needs of patients with mental illness or addiction well before their conditions become acute and require emergency room care. It will identify best practices for this care and share those practices, whether it's how to effectively provide mental health screening and care in primary care settings, link an individual to outpatient behavioral health care, or provide housing with supportive services.

Norris said that he expects up to a dozen health care systems to be involved in Well Being Trust's initiative to link those with behavioral health or substance abuse issues to care in appropriate settings upstream from the emergency room. He said through Well Being Trust, health care systems will collaborate on learning and the creation of tools to transform mental health care, and share best practices.

The partnership with the Trust for America's Health will include developing a blueprint for state and federal policy recommendations and advocacy strategies for mental health issues, with a particular emphasis on reducing substance abuse and preventing suicide. The Trust for America's Health is a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

Well Being Trust will provide $30 million in grants over three years to the California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative, which is a portfolio of grants and partnerships aligned with the work of Well Being Trust, Norris said. The California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative initially is focusing on integrating behavioral and mental health along the full spectrum of health care. The $30 million grant pool responds to a requirement stipulated by the California Attorney General as a condition to approve the 2016 merger that created Providence St. Joseph.

Dr. Arpan Waghray, Swedish Health Services' system director for behavioral medicine in Seattle, and the first medical director of Well Being Trust, will co-lead with Robin Henderson a group promoting the integration of mental health along the care continuum. Waghray's areas of expertise include tele-psychiatry and care approaches for vulnerable populations. He will continue in his role with Swedish and to treat patients. Henderson has a doctorate in psychology and is chief executive of behavioral health for Providence Medical Group.

Some of the California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative funds will go toward gathering data to better measure mental health needs and substance abuse in the state. The data will be mined for information, such as on areas where there are unmet needs, and be used to set a baseline to track the impact and outcome of work to improve mental health delivery.

Norris said the framework for program grants through the California initiative is under development, although he expects one area of concentration will relate to addressing depression, suicide risk and substance abuse in California youth and supporting initiatives that build emotional resiliency.

Well Being Trust also announced that Benjamin F. Miller, who has a doctorate in psychology, is its chief policy officer. He is the founding director and senior advisor of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine.

 

 

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