Category Access to Treatment

Criminalizing Mental Health in the United States

Melody_MoezziMelody Moezzi

More than 60 percent of the population in U.S. prisons are minorities, and by some accounts, the three largest mental health facilities in the country are prisons. CFYM continues its interview with attorney, author and mental health activist Melody Moezzi as she points to educating ourselves and the public about our legal rights as a means to righting these injustices.

Criminalizing Mental Health in the United States

CFYM: Melody, in addition to being an award-winning author, you are a public speaker, attorney and an advocate, you also have a Masters in public health. What changes would you like to see in public health policy with respect to mental health care?

MM: First, we need to stop criminalizing mental illness in the US. The three largest mental health facilities in this country are prisons. That’s beyond unacceptable, and it needs to change, particularly in a country that imprisons more of its citizens than any other on the planet. Furthermore, the use of solitary confinement—both in prisons and hospitals—needs to end. I feel very strongly about this because I’ve experienced “isolation,” and I have no doubt that it is cruel, unusual and downright inhuman. No human being is meant to live like that, even for a short period of time. We are social creatures. We need contact with others; we need compassion; we need connection—especially when we’re going through a crisis. That’s just human nature.

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Does Cultural Bipolarity Create Barriers to the Delivery of Quality Mental Health Care?

Melody Moezzi

Melody_MoezziWhat would it be like if your clinician didn’t understand your culture or treated you as something other than “normal” because of your ethnicity, religion, or gender?  Would you receive appropriate, effective treatment? Attorney, author and mental health activist Melody Moezzi talks with Care For Your Mind about how her religion influences her mental health and why the mental health care system should become more culturally competent.

Does Cultural Bipolarity Create Barriers to the Delivery of Quality Mental Health Care?

CFYM:  In your book, Hadol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, you write about your experience living with and recovering from both clinical and cultural bipolarity. Can you expand on how you experienced cultural bipolarity?

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Tackling Disparities, Achieving Equity

vivianVivian H. Jackson, Ph.D.
National Center for Cultural Competence, National TA Center for Children’s Mental Health
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development

We are a nation of immigrants, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at our mental health care system. It’s hard enough to access quality mental health care services, but the challenge is even greater when cultural, racial, linguistic, or other demographic factors come into play. Today, Dr. Vivian Jackson blogs about what is being done to reduce the barriers to quality care and to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate services in mental health.

Tackling Disparities, Achieving Equity
How You Can Help Eliminate Disparities in Mental Health Care

What’s the problem?
As a society we claim to value fairness, yet every day there is evidence that we are a nation operating with significant disparities in mental health care. Is this fair? Are we offering services in a manner that meets the definition of fair: “not exhibiting any bias, and therefore reasonable and impartial”­?

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Louisiana is a National Leader with their “Prescriber Prevails” Medicaid Policy

BenNeversBen Nevers
State Senator Louisiana

For the past three weeks we’ve devoted this blog to raising awareness around a proposed regulation by the CMS to restrict access to mental health care. But did you know that individual states have fail first policies as well, through the implementation of their Medicaid programs? Read today’s post to learn if your state is on the list.

Louisiana is a National Leader with their “Prescriber Prevails” Medicaid Policy
Keeps access to medication in the hands of physicians and patients

There are many reasons why people do not receive adequate mental health treatment, each of those reasons is as unique and as highly personalized as the individuals themselves. Yet, nearly all stem from the fundamental problem of access. Access to timely, appropriate, affordable mental health care is too often limited and restricted as a result of the following:

  • a shortage of providers or inpatient beds in a given community
  • insurer restrictions on what, when and how providers can prescribe medication and treatment
  • cost barriers that put mental health care financially out of reach

When such barriers obstruct access to care, more people are at risk for serious, disabling mental illness; and in those cases, society bears the related costs. For that reason, I believe we must work together to address these barriers and expand access to mental health services. The cost of not doing so is enormous.

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What Does 2014 Have in Store for Mental Health Funding and Access?

ChuckIngogliaCharles Ingoglia
Senior Vice President, Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into January, 2014 is shaping up to be another important year for mental health policy. In today’s CFYM post, Charles Ingoglia, MSW, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare shares why he is optimistic about advancement of mental health policy issues in 2014.

Last week, we asked for your input about the most pressing mental health issues for the year ahead. So, there’s certainly plenty to talk about. Share your thoughts on whether or not you are optimistic about mental health advancements or if you think there is still much work to be done by commenting in today’s post.

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Mental Health Issues Gaining Legislative Momentum as We Move into 2014

Son Dick walks Mary back to her house.Excellence in Mental Health Act

It has been an active month in Washington, and there is much to celebrate. Legislation furthering government funding for better mental health care has been at the forefront. The Senate Finance Committee took steps toward reforming the funding of mental health care for Medicaid. The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) requires that:

  • Criteria be established for an organization to qualify as a Community Behavioral Health Center, and
  • Centers be reimbursed for Medicaid services on a reasonable cost per visit

This week during a committee hearing, Ms. Stabenow and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed that an Excellence in Mental Health demonstration project be added to the Medicare bill. The National Council for Behavioral Health reported that senators from both sides of the aisle were in support of this amendment.

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Your Signature Can Help Protect Mental Health Programs

Advocates are actively seeking grassroots support to protect funding for programs that advance mental health recovery and civil rights protection. Care for Your Mind is forwarding “Action Alerts” from two different organizations on two different mental health care topics. We also encourage you to contact your representatives directly.You can obtain contact information for your representatives by entering the zip code of the location where you reside into a search program.

ACTION ALERT 1NCMHR logo

Below is information from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery  

SAMHSA grants for stat...

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Beware: Your Mental Health Condition Could Interfere with Your Holiday Travel Plans

airportDo you have loved ones arriving from another country expecting entry into the United States? If they have a documented mental illness, they might want to think twice. Read a summary of an article from the New York Times describing the discrimination people have faced from the United States Customs and Border Protection.

Shameful Profiling of the Mentally Ill by Andrew Solomon was published December 7, 2013 in the New York Times. It describes the mental health discrimination that citizens from other countries face when entering the United States. Sharing several examples, Mr...

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