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Connecting Medicaid Beneficiaries to Social Supports for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

December 2016
Full report

The evidence is clear that socioeconomic factors affect health and wellbeing for individuals with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. In partnership with states, Medicaid managed care organizations must facilitate access to needed supports and address gaps in housing, job training, and other non-medical services.

Research demonstrates that 50 percent of health outcomes are driven by social and economic factors, including an individual’s physical environment, with another 30 percent driven by health behaviors. For individuals with a mental health condition or substance use disorder the impact of these factors may be more pronounced. For instance, individuals with anxiety or depression may struggle to maintain employment or individuals with a substance use disorder may prioritize their addiction above food or housing.

Medicaid plans have long recognized the value of addressing socioeconomic challenges. They are working to actively engage and link members to care and services, including peer supports, to improve their long-term stability, resiliency, and recovery.


  • Impact of socioeconomic factors on health outcomes
  • Role of managed care in connecting individuals to social supports
  • Peer supports
  • Housing
  • Education, employment, and vocational services
  • Access to nutrition and healthy foods

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