It’s Time to Stop Cutting Public Health Funding

Tiffany Kaszuba

Tiffany Kaszuba, Vice President Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates
Manager to the Coalition for Health Funding

CFYM continues the series on mental health funding with a look at how the sequestration is affecting access to care in local communities and shares ways your voice can make a difference.

In our last post, we took note of the federal agencies that make up the public health continuum and their contributions to mental health specifically. Together, these agencies work to prevent illness and promote wellness, provide care for the afflicted, make sure that health professionals are there when we need them, monitor the threats facing Americans, and put in place policies and procedures to protect their health. However, despite the critical work of keeping Americans both physically and mentally healthy, these agencies have scarce resources that continue to disappear as austerity maintains its hold on the federal budget.

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Who Is Making the Rules for Our Mental Health Care?

Tiffany Kaszuba

Tiffany Kaszuba, Vice President Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates
Manager to the Coalition for Health Funding

We advocate for our own medical care, we advocate to our senators and representatives for laws to improve mental health care, but are we reaching everyone who has a say in mental health care policy and delivery? In fact, most policy is developed, implemented, and enforced by regulatory agencies; there are at least a half-dozen federal agencies charged with aspects of addressing mental health.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explain the structure and roles of some of these agencies and their programs, including how they are funded. After all, if we are advocating for improvement in the mental health care system, we need to understand what works (and what doesn’t) and what it costs.

Public health is the science and art of protecting and promoting health in communities where we live, work, and learn. Federal investment in public health dates back to 1798 when Congress first authorized the Marine Hospital Service to deliver care to the merchant seamen who were disproportionately affected by disease. Today, the Public Health Service is led by the Office of the Secretary and comprised of 11 operating divisions—including the eight agencies authorized by the Public Health Service Act and three human services agencies.

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Even for Advocates, Getting Help for Depression Is Hard

Theresa PIC

Theresa Nguyen, Senior Director of Policy and Programming, Mental Health America 

Depression is a personal experience, different for every individual. One thing many people share, however, is difficulty accessing care. As someone who personally struggles with depression, I understand this challenge all too well. Depression can be a debilitating experience, and in addition to dealing with the painful symptoms of the illness, our healthcare system makes it extremely burdensome to seek help.

For a person paralyzed by fatigue, lack of motivation, sadness, or other common symptoms of depression, concentrating on navigating the many barriers to care can feel impossible. Recently released research confirms this unfortunate state of affairs, and addresses the access issues that I and millions of others have experienced firsthand.

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Patient-Centered Care: Today’s Buzz Word or Opportunity for Meaningful Health Care Improvement?

people sitting

Over the past several weeks, CFYM has exposed the problem of postpartum depression and offered solutions for improving the quality of maternal mental health care. This series, developed in collaboration with the National Network of Depression Centers, brought together the voices of women with lived experience, researchers, providers, advocates, and legislators to shine a light on maternal mental health—a topic usually hidden in the shadows.

In addition to exposing some startling facts around the lack of maternal mental health care, contributors also provided meaningful solutions that are effective both economically and from a wellness perspective. These programs provide training and expert consultation to health care providers and peer-to-peer support to assist moms and their families.

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