Out of nearly 300 illnesses and injuries, major depressive disorder is the second-leading global cause of disability, and anxiety disorders are ranked seventh on that list.1 There are many barriers to behavioral health treatment for all populations – the stigma associated with mental health issues and the inconvenience and disruption of meeting with traditional “brick-and-mortar” providers, are the most obvious. However, compounding these challenges is the current shortage of mental health providers – therapists and psychiatrists – across the US, which is especially acute in rural areas.
The American Psychiatric Association supports the use of telemedicine as a legitimate component of a mental health delivery system2 and the enactment of changes over the past several years have made conditions more favorable to increase broader access to virtual behavioral health care.
Understanding that consumer needs are changing – more people than ever are connected by internet and mobile devices 3 and nearly 75 percent of them are open to using the internet or mobile apps to manage their healthcare needs.4 Health plans are responding with innovative, new virtual solutions to meet the growing demand for behavioral health care.
Christopher Dennis, MD, MBA, FAPA
Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Landmark Health
Psychiatrist and Clinical Behavioral Health Leader, Teladoc Health
Dr. Dennis is the Chief Behavioral Health Officer of Landmark. Previously, Dr. Dennis was Chief Medical Officer of ValueOptions’ Commercial Division.
An Attending Psychiatrist in the Division of Emergency Psychiatry at the NSLIJ Health System in New York, he has, since 2001, served as psychiatric consultant to several NY area nursing homes. He contributes lectures as an Associate Professor to St. George’s University, and was elected to membership in ACMHA: The College for Behavioral Health Leadership. Additionally, he serves on the NYCMS Medical Economics Committee, NCQA Standards Committee and in 2013 chaired NCQA’s Managed Behavioral Healthcare Advisory Committee. Board certified in Psychiatry, Dr. Dennis is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and completed his residency through the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“Throughout my career as a Psychiatrist, I have been an ardent supporter of collaborative, integrated medical and behavioral healthcare, having witnessed first-hand the impact of behavioral health, both positively and negatively, on total health. The opportunity to champion this model is not only personally fulfilling and exciting, but will also result in an improved quality of life for the patients.”