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BlueCross BlueShield Launches Depression Screening Tools, Free for Western New York Community

Part of Health Plan’s Efforts to Improve Access to Resources, Eliminate Barriers to Care and End Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

October 09, 2020

Buffalo, N.Y. – BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York today launched free self-screening online tools for anxiety and depression, designed to help individuals understand if they are dealing with depression and/or anxiety and to then connect them to resources as needed.

With anxiety and depression leading as the most common mental health conditions, BlueCross BlueShield’s simple, interactive self-screening tools are available to anyone in the community, including its nearly one million members.

Users will respond to a brief set of multiple-choice questions based on screeners from Pfizer Inc. to help determine if these conditions may be impacting their overall health and well-being. At the end of the screening, users will receive their results and learn what they mean. For impacted individuals, BlueCross BlueShield will offer a combination of solutions and resources to help them improve their mental and physical health.

“It’s important for our members and community to know that we are here to support their mental and physical health, particularly now, during this critical time,” said Dr. Thomas Schenk, Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “This is another step we’re taking to build a behavioral health care model that’s designed to effectively treat the whole person.”

Individuals can access the user-friendly tools via phone, tablet or computer on BlueCross BlueShield’s website at In addition to the screening tools, BlueCross BlueShield’s newly designed site offers a robust menu of digital behavioral health resources to manage mental health, including COVID-19 related stress, and information on behavioral health care management, ADHD care management and depression care management.

The content was developed by BlueCross BlueShield’s team of medical professionals, working with Pfizer Inc. and implemented by its digital experience team. Users will not be required to create a login, and responses will not be shared with third-party organizations.

BlueCross BlueShield has a long history of providing innovative behavioral health programs to its members. The health plan recently launched the first local behavioral health value-based payment agreement with Value Network— a behavioral health care collaborative with more than 100 area providers, including BestSelf Behavioral Health, Endeavor Health Services, Horizon Health Services, and Spectrum Health and Human Services. Through this initiative, BlueCross BlueShield rewards behavioral health providers for delivering quality mental health and substance use disorder treatment to its members

Other efforts by BlueCross BlueShield to address behavioral health include launching a program with Horizon Health Corporations to support residential treatment for opioid use disorder in 2011; developing "Painkillers Kill," a campaign that began in 2014 that increased community awareness about the dangers of prescription painkiller abuse; supporting the 2017 launch of Save the Michaels’ House of Hope for those recovering and their families; bringing the National Safety Council’s impactful exhibit on the opioid crisis to Canalside Buffalo in 2018; and donating $1 million to Erie County Medical Center’s (ECMC) Trauma Center/Emergency Department project to support behavioral health and detoxification services.

Additional resources are also available for BlueCross BlueShield members and the community at