Since the first of the year, CFYM has informed and educated our readers about the issues of mental health parity. Our guest bloggers have asked, “If we don’t have access, do we really have parity?” Others have revealed the tragic results that can occur when access is lacking. Still others have pointed out the disparity between states.
The one point they all have in common is a plea for you, the reader, to take action! Taking action means getting involved. Below are some suggestions:
- Understand your insurance benefits
- Challenge stigma
- Contact your elected officials
While the words are simple on paper, actually taking steps is anything but. That is why CFYM, in partnership with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), wants to make getting involved easier for our readers.
Advocate for yourself and others
Hopefully you have noticed the Take Action button in both last week’s and this week’s post. That button takes you to the DBSA Advocacy Platform. Take a look around. Get more in-depth information about mental health parity. Learn the facts. Decide whether or not your insurance plan complies. And if not, do something about it. That’s the first step in letting go of self-stigma.
But don’t stop there. Contact your elected officials. In New Jersey, guest blogger Carolyn Beauchamp’s home state, a bill is making its way through the state senate that would eliminate utilization management review for behavioral health care services. So while you are on the DBSA Advocacy Platform, look up the contact information for your New Jersey state senator and tell them you support S2180 and that you expect them to support it as well.
Subscribe to receive action alerts
Within the next month there will be a New Jersey state page with information about S2180 and other bills that support access to quality mental health care. A team of DBSA volunteers will work to maintain the page with current state information and send out action notices alerting you to critical issues that require an immediate action from you to your elected officials. You’ll find similar information for other states where DBSA has volunteer grassroots organizations in the coming month as well. But you need to subscribe to receive the alerts.
Your story matters
Key to passing legislation in the states is collecting stories of how people have been adversely affected by disparity in insurance plans. Your elected officials are more apt to respond positively when you provide real world examples of how bills they are voting on affect their constituents. Telling your story not only empowers you to rise above stigma but supports others who can benefit from laws that increase access to quality mental health care.
Our mission at Care For Your Mind is to provide informed, balanced posts about access to quality mental health care. It is our hope that you, our reader, will embrace that effort by making 2015 the year of taking action.
- What have been the consequences of an unreasonable appointment wait time on your health, or the health of a loved one?
- How have you been denied equal insurance coverage for a mental health condition? Tell Us Your Story