Category Mental Health Reform

How Would You Fix Mental Health Care?


Susan Weinstein, J.D.

Imagine that the Congressional powers-that-be came to you and said, “We really have to fix the mental health care system. What should we do?” What would you say? Which issues would you prioritize?

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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.

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Federal spending cuts mean states do not have as much funding to promote open enrollment for the insurance exchanges—often referred to as the ACA or Obamacare. This transcript from an October 28, 2017 NPR broadcast highlights what advocates are doing to get the word out.

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Hundreds of Mental Health Advocates from All 50 States Converge on Capitol Hill

Last week, more than 700 advocates from around the country descended on Washington, D.C., to educate lawmakers about the need for improved policies and funding around mental health care. Now in its thirteenth year, the National Council for Behavioral Health Hill Day brought together participants from 20 different mental health advocacy organizations including your Care for Your Mind principals, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)—a partner for the past seven years—and Families for Depression Awareness.

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SAMHSA and Partners Address the Increasing Urgency of Suicide Prevention

Throughout September 2017, in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Month, our CFYM posts dealt with various aspects of suicide prevention: the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP); the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s policy agenda related to suicide prevention at both the federal and state levels; a suicide attempt survivor’s personal experience of sharing her own story to help both those struggling with suicidal ideation and peers at elevated risk for suicidal ideation and attempts; and efforts directed at young people, primarily in academic settings.

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What’s Happening with Obamacare and Health Insurance?

Care for Your Mind

Traditionally, autumn is the time when millions of Americans sign up for employer group health plans or ACA marketplace plans. With efforts to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failing and Congress now in recess, legislators are strategizing on policy to stabilize the insurance market. We can expect activity on these issues when Congress resumes immediately after Labor Day.

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Use Shared Decision Making to Maximize Health Insurance Benefits

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance for Care for Your Mind

It’s no secret that out-of-pocket healthcare costs—the amount you pay—have risen significantly. These expenses have been trending upward for over a decade and there is no indication that this trend will end anytime soon. In 2013, according to the HealthAffairs Blog, nearly one-third of participants in an employer-sponsored plan had a high deductible. Plans purchased through the federal marketplace have similar out-of-pocket costs, especially at the Bronze level.

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Patients Need to Be Involved in Policy-Making

Photo of Tony Coelho

Editors’ Note: With Congress in recess for the 4th of July holiday, we get a brief reprieve from the Senate’s consideration of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” From where we sit, this legislation severely undermines gains that we have made in access to and quality of mental health care.

In the spirit of citizen engagement, we offer an encore post from former Member of Congress Tony Coelho on the need for patients – and we would add families, too – to be involved in policy-making. We hope it will inspire you to share your concerns about the proposed changes to the healthcare system and to tell your elected officials how this bill would impact you and your family’s health and wellbeing.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

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