Mental health is an important part of our overall health and well-being. While mental illness is incredibly common, two-thirds of Americans do not actively seek help or receive the proper treatment1.

Plenty of treatment options are available to help patients with mental illnesses, but navigating care can be difficult. It is also important to consider the social and physical factors rather than focus only on mental health symptoms because mental health and physical health are directly related. This is why a behavioral health care manager’s role is essential. They provide care for the whole patient and ensure that treatment plans focus on health, wellness, and preventive care.

Here are five key ways care managers are helping guide patients to better mental health:

Coordinating Care
Care managers are typically nurses, clinical social workers, or licensed counselors who take a holistic approach to mental health. They work collaboratively and alongside physicians, nurses, providers, and other medical staff to ensure more continuity of care for patients. “Getting people to the right place is really our number one goal,” says Michael Adamson, LCSW, manager of clinical care services at Magellan Rx.

Preventing Escalation
If not treated properly, mental illnesses can lead to emergency room visits, hospitalization, or suicide. Care managers can help mitigate this risk by helping patients maximize their existing benefits for mental health and medical care. “If we can intervene before they think of suicide or before they need the hospital, that benefits everybody,” states Jordan Johnson, LMFT, senior care manager for Magellan Rx.

Checking In and Following Up
After a doctor visit or being discharged from a hospital, a patient may be feeling overwhelmed. Care managers check in on patients, make sure they understand their treatment plan, and eliminate gaps in care. “If I have a member who is discharged without a care plan, the member says, ‘I’m so glad you called, what do I do now?’” discloses Silvia Pantoja, senior care manager.

Supporting Parents and Caregivers
Depression and mental illness have increased over time in children and teens. Care managers not only help individual patients, but they can also support and provide resources for parents or their caregivers.

Education and Resources
Care managers help patients learn about all the resources and educational materials available to them. Especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, members need to rely on resources they are not normally used to. Care managers help find virtual care, online support groups, mail-order pharmacies, online resources, and more.

1 National Network of Depression Centers. Get the Facts. Retrieved July 21, 2020 from