Fast facts: the WHAT and WHY of BHECN

An alliance to advance all-Nebraska behavioral health.

Our collaborative mission
What is behavioral health?
What exactly does BHECN do?
What BHECN doesn’t do
Nebraska’s behavioral health structure
BHECN’s charter from Nebraska Legislature

Let’s get acquainted — or reacquainted.

A. Acronym. Our short name — BHECN — is pronounced “beacon.” Like a lighthouse beacon.

B. Behavioral health. Our job is to beam light on mental illness and substance abuse. They pose serious health threats statewide, especially in small-town and rural Nebraska.

C. Care. Nebraska has a serious shortage of behavioral health care providers — 90 of 93 Nebraska counties have little or no access to local care.

Our collaborative mission

To enhance the behavioral health of the people of Nebraska
by improving the numbers, accessibility and competence
of the Nebraska Behavioral Health Workforce
through the collaboration of academic institutions,
providers, governmental agencies and the community.

What is behavioral health? What things are included?
Behavioral health refers to the effect that people’s choices and actions have on their well being — on their mental and physical health. Areas under behavioral health include:

  • mental illness
  • substance abuse
  • addictions and behavior modification

Behavioral health care providers are engaged in education, prevention, assessment and treatment based on a person’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral symptoms.

What exactly does BHECN do?
BHECN’s efforts focus on these activities to serve Nebraska:

  • recruit students into behavioral health careers.
  • increase competence of hehavioral health workforce.
  • retain behavioral care providers.
  • provide education and training to behavioral health workers.
  • encourage interprofessional collaboration among providers.
  • offer outreach to underserved rural and small-town Nebraska through telehealth programs and innovative collaboration among communities, care providers, academic institutions and government agencies.

What doesn’t BHECN do?
BHECN does not provide direct care services. Our task is to improve care quality and expand access to local care for all Nebraska through existing and new channels.

Nebraska’s behavioral health structure
In 2004, the passage of LB1083 restructured the behavioral health system of care from institution to community-based. In 2009, the passage of LB603 created the Nebraska Behavioral Health Education Center (BHECN).

BHECN’s charter from Nebraska Legislature
LB603 excerpt.