Air Date

March 28, 2023

Featured Guests

Michael Garrett
CEO, CNS Healthcare

Brent McGinty
President & CEO, Missouri Behavioral Health Council

Melissa Larkin-Skinner
CEO, Centerstone of Florida


Charles Ingoglia
President & CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing


For many years, mental health services have been scarce or inaccessible to many in the general public. However, with the rise of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) nationwide, more people than ever are finding ways to improve their mental health and well-being.

During a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event focused on mental health, experts from across the country discussed the benefits of CCBHCs. They shared how each of their respective states has taken this program model and implemented it in their local communities to improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness.  

Data Shows Implementing CCBHCs Has Been Successful

CCBHCs, of which there are currently over 500 in the country, have made a tremendous impact on the lives of those they serve. According to Melissa Larkin-Skinner, CEO of Centerstone of Florida, data shows Floridians have felt its positive impact.

“In Florida, the 10 grantees were able to reduce incarceration by 92% for people served by CCBHCs,” Larkin-Skinner said. “They were able to reduce mental health hospitalizations by 69% ... emergency department utilization by 81%, homelessness by 30%, and increase the number of people served by 23%.”

Michael Garrett, CEO of CNS Healthcare, has seen the positive impact of CCBHCs on his community in Michigan as well.

“When we started ... 73% of our population was at high risk for BMI-related issues. Today, that number is 37% — and we've seen that same thing with waist circumference and all of the other health measures that we monitor,” Garrett explained. “Not only are we able to offer the full array of services for all the people that we serve, but their overall quality of life has improved — not just on behavioral healthcare, but on physical healthcare as well. That [translates] into lower cost for the primary care system.”

The CCBHC Model Allows States to Serve the Underserved

Previously, an individual would have to fit into a specific “severe” category to make use of mental health services. However, the operation of CCBHCs allows for more people’s needs to be met, as those needing any degree of help can gain access to it when they need it.

“[The] CCBHC [model] has allowed us to treat people regardless of their insurance status ... where they live … [or] the severity of their illness,” Garrett said. “If you have a diagnosable behavioral healthcare need, I can open up 100% of the services that I have available in my toolkit for the first time. I can help prevent people from moving up that scale from mild to moderate to severe.”

The implementation of this model has also taken some relief off law enforcement and allowed for a blossoming partnership that better fits the needs of local communities. 

“It was taking law enforcement [six to 10 hours] when they engaged [with] a client in crisis. The average at crisis centers is six minutes,” Brent McGinty, President and CEO of Missouri Behavioral Health Council, explained. “It takes the law enforcement officer six minutes to get there, work with the intake worker on a bit of the background, and then they're back doing what they're supposed to be doing.”

Advancing Partnerships Can Lead to Continued Success

Gaining support to extend the reach of CCBHCs hasn’t always been easy. For example, certain groups, such as veterans, are more likely to avoid seeking help. However, the push for access to CCBHCs, and their continued advancement, is still very strong.

“I've never seen one CCBHC turn a deaf ear to anybody that wants to partner and collaborate about anything related to behavioral health,” Garrett said. “We seek out partnerships and talk to anybody that's going to help further this model.”

The model can be expanded even further, as some states have done, to address inequitable housing access and other shortcomings in communities. In doing so, those who need it can easily access mental health services without having to travel far.

“Safe, affordable housing… is a desperate need — not just [for] the folks that we're serving with our services, but our workforce can't afford to live where we live,” Larkin-Skinner said.

“We have a campus … [of] around 86 apartments. It's low income, and 80% have to have a disability of some sort, and the focus for our housing partner is on people with a disability that's related to mental health,” she added. “We're trying to replicate that model in other communities.”