JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Families for Depression Awareness
DBSA and FFDA Facilitate National Conversation on Mental Health Reform
New Blog Fosters Discussion among Consumers, Families, and Policymakers
(CHICAGO and WALTHAM, MA, May 1, 2013) —The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA) are pleased to announce the launch of Care for Your Mind—a new blog focused on sparking conversation about mental health care reform. At CareForYourMind.org, individuals affected by the mental health care system openly discuss its strengths and weaknesses with thought leaders and advocates to help build a system that works.
Reacting to national tragedies including the Newtown shootings, the mental health issues affecting many returning Veterans, and the challenges of implementing the Affordable Care Act, government officials are now urgently discussing mental health care delivery problems and debating policy changes that will profoundly impact people who live with mood disorders, as well as their families. Through CareForYourMind.org, FFDA and DBSA initiate and facilitate active dialogue about emerging policies and regulations that will determine the availability and quality of mental health care services to people with mood disorders and their families.
“It is imperative that our constituents be represented in this conversation. We are committed to ensuring that decision-makers and influencers hear the voices of people who live with mental health conditions; the most informed decisions about mental health reform will consider the experience and perspectives of the individuals who will be directly affected,” says DBSA President Allen Doederlein.
Care for Your Mind strives to help those who stand to lose or gain the most from health reform to understand the issues that policymakers are discussing so that they can become active in the conversation. Each week, experts on mental health care present a challenge faced by mental health care consumers and their families, explain a piece of legislation, posit an idea about improving the system, or otherwise offer insights into our mental health care system. Visitors to the site are invited to share their ideas and personal experiences to help policymakers understand the realities of the mental health care system for individuals living with a mood disorder and their families.
Care for Your Mind seeks a variety of viewpoints that make up the overall picture of the mental health care system and its challenges. These challenges include issues like lack of insurance and limits on coverage, unavailability of qualified mental health care providers, unmet language and cultural needs, and general problems navigating the system to get necessary services. “Depression is an illness that affects the whole family. And because there are so many barriers to getting mental health care, family members have to actively advocate for their loved ones to get any services. In our view, family members need to get involved in mental health reform to dismantle these barriers to treatment,” says Julie Totten, President and Founder of FFDA.
Ron Manderscheid, a public health and behavioral health policy professional with more than 30 years of experience in the federal government kicks off the first Care for Your Mind discussion on May 1 with an overview of the mental health care system and challenges to accessing quality mental health care. Manderscheid is the first among a host of experts, policymakers, and other mental health stakeholders who will contribute weekly Expert Perspectives blog posts to CareforYourMind.org.
The Care for Your Mind conversation launches on May 1, 2013.