Health Care Marketers’ Important Role in Addressing Mental Illness
The tragic suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and television personality Anthony Bourdain have thrust mental health issues into the limelight, catching the attention of people from all walks of life. Further, the recent rash of shootings in schools and at public events both in the U.S. and abroad have also raised widespread awareness about the broad impact that mental health issues, left untreated, can have on entire communities.
With so much at stake, and with mental health diagnoses often co-occurring with a variety of health issues, health care marketers have a unique opportunity to try to reach a population that is struggling, helping them connect to behavioral health services in the most cost-effective way, according to Beatriz Mallory, senior vice president, managing director of cross-cultural marketing agency SensisHealth in Los Angeles.
“Statistics from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveal that about 68 percent of behavioral health patients have some medical comorbidity,” Mallory explains. “That means that the vast majority of them should be coming through primary care.”
Yet many behavioral health concerns (by some accounts as many as half) are overlooked by primary care physicians. As a result, instead of addressing the issue at the first point of contact, all too often the problem continues and ultimately leads the patient to end up in the emergency room (in some cases, even multiple times).
Although health care marketers have no authority over the clinical side of the equation, Mallory emphasizes that there are still ways that marketers can help to improve the situation. Read on to learn 6 ways marketers can help.
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