Banner Health is now partnering with Phoenix-based evolvedMD to place mental-health providers at Banner’s primary-care clinics, making it easier for people to receive mental health services they may need.

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This innovative embedding of mental health services in primary-care settings will be phased in at Banner Medical Group sites throughout metro Phoenix, starting in the East Valley at Banner’s East Mesa and Queen Creek locations.

“There is an epidemic of mental health issues right now: depression, anxiety, people facing overwhelming stress. Our patients need these kinds of services, and we are excited about the opportunities this partnership can bring,’’ said Shiva Birdi, MD, Banner Medical Group CEO.

“There is such a strong connection between mental and physical health and now our providers can refer patients to our on-site evolvedMD partners. It will be a seamless, convenient way for our patients to access critical behavioral health care services,’’ he said.

It is estimated that more than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. In Arizona, more than 1 million people – four times the population of Scottsdale — have a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“The last few years have demonstrated a clear need for integrating behavioral health in modern primary care,” said Erik Osland, co-founder and co-CEO of evolvedMD. “With Banner, we will be accelerating access to care for thousands of patients. This partnership means expanded access for thousands and thousands of patients.’’

Under the program, a licensed behavioral therapist works with the patient’s primary care providers to provide mental health expertise, psychiatric consultation, ongoing clinical support, case management and insurance support and navigation.

“In traditional healthcare models, a patient’s therapist and primary care physician rarely work together or even know each other,’’ Osland said. “That doesn’t help the patient, and it doesn’t help medical professionals understand the full picture. With this, everyone is onsite, on the same page, supported, and focused on the patient.”

evolvedMD Licensed Associate Counselor Katie Valente will lead behavioral health efforts at the Banner East Mesa facility, 1917 S Crimson Road. Rebekah Moore, LAC, will direct evolvedMD’s efforts at Banner Queen Creek, 21772 S Ellsworth Loop Road.