Break Down the Silos, Work Together for Change

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Helen Keller

The mental health care system is notoriously divided into silos of narrow interests. Not only is mental health seen as distinct from physical health, and distinct from substance use disorders, but there is little collaboration – or even conversation – between and among people living with mental health conditions and their families, mental health care providers, professional associations, advocacy organizations, researchers, community health centers, hospital systems, and so on. This division works against our ability to effectively and collectively advocate for improvements to the mental health care system.

Five years ago, in response to mental health access, affordability, and quality problems experienced by people living with mood disorders and their families, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and Families for Depression Awareness partnered to establish Care for Your Mind. We aspired to create a space where people affected by mood disorders could read and discuss different points of view and new ideas about how to fix our broken mental health care system. Ideally, those people would better understand the policies underpinning the problems and become knowledgeable advocates for mental health reform.

As we launched, the Affordable Care Act was having a positive impact on access to mental health care. We sought to build on that momentum and join our constituencies with other organizations to increase the volume of our demands for improving the mental health care system.

Care for Your Mind has been able to bridge many of those divides within the mental health space by engaging a wide variety of authors and organizations on diverse topics of access and quality. (See the partial list below.) We cover mental health issues across the spectrum of life, from maternal mental health to children and adolescents, from working age through elders, from the workplace to back from the front lines (see the list of categories in the website sidebar). We publish professional perspectives on problems and potential solutions, plus personal stories that demonstrate those problems in real life.

And sometimes we even publish posts from elected officials: state legislators including Sen. David Carlucci (NY), Sen. Ben Nevers (LA), and Sen. Ellen Story (MA); former U.S. Representative Tony Coelho; and current U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5) are all content contributors to Care for Your Mind.

In 2018, we must do more to create a collective impact. We want to build a bigger platform (metaphorically speaking) to accommodate and coordinate our voices. Now, arguably more than ever, we as representatives of all aspects of mental health care need to share ideas, collaborate on strategy and messaging, and move as a unified force to demand better access, better quality, better outcomes, better inclusion, and ultimately a better life lived with mental health conditions.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
– Ryunosuke Satoro

Will you join with us?

Please contact Care for Your Mind Editor in Chief Susan Weinstein to continue this conversation.

Among the organizations represented on Care for Your Mind (in no particular order and not all are listed) through expert perspectives:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Carter Center
  • Jed Foundation
  • Mental Health America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • National Network of Depression Centers
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Active Minds
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
  • National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health
  • Coaching Into Care
  • Network for Public Health Law
  • Partnership for Workplace Mental Health
  • 2020 Mom
  • American Association of Pastoral Counselors
  • National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
  • International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred)

and, of course, Families for Depression Awareness and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. We appreciate the participation of all of our content contributors – and all those who help to promote Care for Your Mind through social media, and our readers – and look forward to working more closely with you all in the coming year.

Facebook Comments