This initiative is completed — began in March 2018 and ended in August 2019.

Emergency departments throughout the United States lack the capacity to support individuals with a range of behavioral health needs, thereby overburdening staff, raising costs for health systems, and leading to poor outcomes and experience of care for individuals and their families.

ED & UP Learning Community

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with Well Being Trust, is convening a small group of pioneering US hospitals and health systems, together with their community partners, in the 18-month Integrating Behavioral Health in the Emergency Department and Upstream (ED & UP) Learning Community, which began in March 2018.

Better Care for ED Patients with Behavioral Health Needs

The aim of the ED & UP Learning Community is for participating teams to improve patient outcomes and experience of care and staff safety while also decreasing avoidable, repeat visits to the ED for individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues who present to the emergency department.

Emergency departments and their community partners participating in the Learning Community will test and implement change ideas in the following areas:

  • Build and leverage partnerships with community-based services
  • Coordinate and communicate between the ED and other health care and community-based services
  • Standardize processes from ED intake to discharge for a range of mental health and substance abuse issues
  • Engage and capacitate patients and family members to support self-management
  • Create a trauma-informed culture among ED staff


Well Being TrustThe ED & UP Learning Community is made possible through funding by Well Being Trust.