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For Professionals: Asthma and Behavioral Health - An Argument for Integrated Care

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

By Amy Faus, MPH, CPH, CHES®

The Bergen’s Promise Behavioral Health Home (BHH) was born out of the understanding that mental and physical health are inextricably tied. A recent peer-reviewed article published in Pediatrics provides further evidence of this reality and reinforces the importance of integrated care such as that offered through BHH.

The article entitled “Depression, Anxiety, and Emergency Department Use for Asthma” by Bardach et al. detailed a study that reviewed data on asthma-related emergency department use from the Massachusetts All-Payer Claims Database. The authors found that children with anxiety, depression, or both have significantly higher asthma-related emergency department use than children without those diagnoses. Proposed causes of this association include the complexity of managing asthma being complicated by the need to also manage a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, symptoms of depression or anxiety making it difficult to adhere to asthma management tasks and overlapping symptoms. In their discussion, the authors suggest that this population may benefit from integrated care management of both their physical and mental health conditions.

This is the mission of Bergen’s Promise Behavioral Health Home, to provide integrated care to help youth and families better manage both their physical and mental health. Through our work with families in Bergen County, we have often witnessed this interaction between asthma and anxiety/depression, as well as interactions between other physical and behavioral health conditions, play out in reality. Through the process of Wraparound and multidisciplinary intervention, a multitude of families have achieved improved health outcomes and improved quality of life. This recent addition to the literature serves to bolster the evidence base supporting the continued expansion of integrated programming in our healthcare systems. Bergen’s Promise is proud to continue leading the way in the state’s efforts to provide this valuable service to the youth and families of New Jersey.

Bardach NS, Neel C, Kleinman LC, et al. Depression, Anxiety, and Emergency Department Use for Asthma. Pediatrics. 2019;144(4):e20190856