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What is the New Utah Behavioral Health Master Plan and how Intermountain Health is Ready to Help

The Utah Behavioral Health Coalition developed a comprehensive and coordinated approach to improving people’s behavioral health. Intermountain Health is a founding partner.

(PRUnderground) March 19th, 2024

Utah is working to address a growing behavioral health crisis. While the state is leading the nation on many behavioral health innovations, interventions, and reforms, high suicide rates, untreated anxiety and depression, serious mental illness, and drug-related deaths are all signs of the need for more accessible, equitable, aligned, and effective behavioral health services.

Under the direction of the Utah Hospital Association (UHA) and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Utah Behavioral Health Coalition developed a comprehensive and coordinated approach to improving people’s behavioral health.The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, in partnership with Leavitt Partners, assisted the Utah Behavioral Health Coalition assess needs, gaps, and challenges in Utah’s behavioral health systems. This assessment informed the development of the Behavioral Health Master Plan.

“Intermountain Health stands with our community collaborators to support this plan to serve the people of Utah,” said Tammer Attallah, Executive Clinical Programs Director for Behavioral Health at Intermountain. “Intermountain Health is committed to helping people live the healthiest lives possible. Effectively meeting the behavioral health needs in our communities requires that we work together. The Utah Behavioral Health Master Plan outlines this effort.”

Key points from the plan include the following:

Growing Demand – Utah ranks 11th highest among states in terms of the share of adults with any mental illness, 3rd highest for adults with serious mental illness, and 4th highest for adults with serious thoughts of suicide. The share of young adults in Utah with poor mental health more than doubled over the last 10 years.

Limited Access to Care – Many Utahns do not have access to the behavioral health care they need. While data show utilization may have improved for some populations, nearly half of Utah’s adults and more than half of Utah’s youth do not receive necessary services or treatment.

Demand Continues to Outweigh Supply – Utah has mental health provider shortages in every county and fewer mental health providers per 100,000 people than the national average. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified pressures on Utah’s limited workforce.

System Fragmentation – Several issues create and exacerbate challenges in Utah’s behavioral health systems. These include a lack of system-level coordination, siloed approaches to addressing behavioral health needs, administrative complexities, ongoing workforce shortages, and a lack of sustainable funding.

Master Plan – Utah’s Behavioral Health Master Plan provides a roadmap for future reform. While some recommended changes may result in state-directed reform, the Master Plan is designed to call attention to high-priority areas and help facilitate solutions by other sectors and private systems as well. A unified approach to system-level reform will help all Utahns have better behavioral health.

Seven Strategic Priorities – The Behavioral Health Master Plan identifies seven strategic priorities:

  • Support continued use, implementation, creation, and innovation of evidence-based interventions.
  • Strengthen behavioral health prevention and early intervention.
  • Integrate physical and behavioral health.
  • Improve patient, family, and consumer navigation.
  • Continue to build out Utah’s behavioral health crisis and stabilization systems.
  • Improve the availability of services and supports for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) and complex behavioral health needs and their families.
  • Expand, support, and diversify Utah’s behavioral health workforce.

The full report is now available online here.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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Press Contact

Name: Brad Gillman
Phone: 385.275.8245
Email: Contact Us

Original Press Release.

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