The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of behavioral health, senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Ben Spielberg, CEO of Los Angeles-based Bespoke Treatment, has been named a 2023 Future Leader by Behavioral Health Business.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40 years old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for behavioral health patients, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
BHB connected with Spielberg to learn more about the difficulty of aligning a company with the needs of several different stakeholders, the future of mental health with psychedelics on the horizon and the compelling role a niche treatment played in pulling him into the industry.
What drew you to this industry?
There’s a lot. First, when I was growing up, there was this sentiment that the brain doesn’t change, especially once you enter adulthood. We know now through neuroscience that that’s really not the case. A lot of different parts of your brain are changing; the connections between your synapses are changing every second. But it was still there, and it still sort of permeates popular culture.
The second was the immediate association of mental health with Columbine. It didn’t feel fair to me. It just seemed wrong. It also seemed that the association of mental health with Columbine was morally reprehensible and unfair to those with other non-homicidal struggles in mental health.
I got interested in behavioral health when I was about 22, and I had a good friend who was in an addiction treatment center. She would go to another office to get neurofeedback. I came along with her, and I was just fascinated by the idea that people could create these really profound and lasting changes without the use of medication.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
The balance of trying to keep all of my stakeholders — my employees, my clinicians, my patients, payers, caregivers, investors — aligned is Sisyphean, at best, because they’re not all 100% aligned, unfortunately.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of behavioral health, what would it be?
The goal of most high levels of care for behavioral health treatments is really just to get them stabilized as quickly as possible. It’s not about optimization; it’s not about patients thriving. It’s about getting patients to subsist on a lower level of care for however long and then bringing them down to another lower level of care. I’d really like to change the model so it’s not just about stabilization, but rather, about optimization.
What do you foresee as being different about the behavioral health industry looking ahead to 2024?
I think the macroeconomic conditions are pretty close to flipping. I think we’ll probably start seeing more consolidation again.
I think we’ll also see a lot of clinics that tried to do psychedelic medicine and then close a year or two later.
In a word, how would you describe the future of behavioral health?
Exciting! This is the first time we’ve seen so many different FDA-approved treatments being approved and converging at the same time, like the whole psychedelic landscape and what’s happening with neuromodulation. It’s so exciting.
What quality must all Future Leaders possess?
It seems like all the Future Leaders are trying to do their part to increase the standard of care and behavioral health.
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit: https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.