Skyrocketing Demand for Behavioral Health Services – Are SNFs Ready to Cope?

As our population continues to age, so does the need for quality senior living communities. And with this growth comes an increasing demand for behavioral health services, particularly for residents dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse disorders. In a recent blog post, we discussed the importance of quality over quantity in senior living.

Today we are going to build off of that sentiment in regard to the demand for tailored behavioral health services. 

To address this need, the Center for Excellence for Behavioral Health in Nursing Facilities was established in September 2022. This was made possible thanks to a $5 million partnership between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The intention behind this center is to provide the appropriate technical support, training, and more to each of the nation’s 15,000 Medicare-certified nursing homes. 

How SNFs Can Prepare to Meet the Rising Demand for Behavioral Health Services

It’s more important than ever for senior living providers, operators, and investors alike to acknowledge the need for behavioral health and substance abuse programs. As federal regulators increase the pressure on SNFs to treat patients with these conditions, it’s imperative facilities and caretakers are prepared to offer the necessary support and resources to meet this demand. Failure to do so could not only impact the well-being of residents but also affect the success and reputation of the senior living community. 

Here are some steps that SNFs can take to prepare to treat and support residents with behavioral health needs:



  • Ensure that staff are properly trained: Providing effective care for residents with behavioral health needs requires specialized training and expertise. SNFs should invest in training programs for their staff to ensure they have the skills to provide high-quality care. 
  • Pursue partnerships with mental health providers: One way for SNFs to take action here is to pursue and establish partnerships with mental health providers in their specific regions and communities to ensure all residents have access to the care they need. 
  • Adopt trauma-informed care protocols: SNFs that take action to onboard and upskill individuals on the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for residents will come out on top. 
  • Embrace a culture of empathy: Now more than ever, it’s imperative SNFs take action to create a culture of empathy that puts the needs and well-being of residents first. 

It’s of course important to note that this shift will not take place overnight. It will require commitment and dedication on the part of SNF operators, as well as a significant investment of time and money. However, those that embrace this challenge and are proactive about their ability to meet the growing demand for behavioral services will position themselves for long-term success. Questions about our current portfolio or interested in investing in a senior living community? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Sherman & Roylance team today.