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Dr. Kevin Stevenson, FACHE

Seasoned Hospital Executive with Operational and Strategy Expertise Host of I Don't Care Podcast

Behavioral Health Is Stepping Out of the Shadows of Healthcare


Host Kevin Stevenson of the “I Don’t Care” podcast talked with Stuart Archer, the CEO of Oceans Healthcare, a behavioral health service provider, about the growth and challenges of behavioral health in hospitals. Currently, the healthcare system is buzzing in behavioral health but there are still some improvements to be made.

Even with many advancements and changes in attitudes regarding behavioral health, there’s quite a lot of work to be done in the area, and COVID-19 has coincidentally had some footing in that, said Archer.

“Behavioral health is really in many ways still in the shadows of healthcare in general, and the funding decisions we make, and even in some of the decisions we make in our community,” said Archer. “I think if COVID has done one thing, is given us that common thing —  anxiety, stress, all those things that become something that we can all relate to during COVID and maybe in our own ways relate better to behavioral health patients in our communities.”

Archer did not originally start out as a professional in behavioral health, and worked his way up by immersing himself within the field. Today, he leads Oceans Healthcare and their mission in partnering with various organizations to bring their inpatient and outpatient services to different communities.

But the journey there was an eye-opening one for Archer, who stated that he remained shocked at the disparities that healthcare facilities have in behavioral health. While his company has worked to close those gaps, he acknowledged the biggest improvement in behavioral health was the elimination of state-run psychiatric hospitals and the deinstitutionalization of patients. Archer also credited medical evolution and open-minded attitudes for the huge change.

However, the fact remains that most American healthcare facilities are not able to take on the needs of patients who have behavioral health concerns. He contends that mental health is an area that continues to see slow improvement because most facilities and hospitals were not built with the intention to serve patients with chronic health issues, such as behavioral health.

In addition, every state has their own funding and budget when it comes to mental health, and for the most part, the country’s prison system continues to house the majority of the patients with behavioral health concerns.

However, that tide is seeing some change as Archer pointed out that decreasing the stigmas, and working with hospitals and facilities to connect more with their communities on a more personal level, fostering some real breakthroughs.

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