advocacy tagged posts

AFSP’s Suicide Prevention Policy Priorities: Our Agenda for Progress

John Madigan

John Madigan, Vice President of Public Policy
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Reducing the incidence of suicide requires a multi-pronged approach, including scientific research, educating the public, supporting suicide loss and attempt survivors, and advocating for public policies. That’s the premise for our work at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Medicare Part D Users are Feeling the Squeeze

If concerns about being able to retain access to the correct medications to treat their mood disorders was not enough, individuals utilizing Medicare Part D must also be concerned about whether or not they can even afford to take their prescribed medications.

When Medicare Part D took effect in 2006, it arrived with mixed reviews. Today, according to a survey conducted by Medicare Today, 86% of seniors say they are satisfied with their prescription drug plan. One reason they site for the satisfaction is that the costs are reasonable. Given the way things are trending however, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) may see satisfaction dip.

Cost related non-adherence to medication protocols is growing. The inability to pay for costly medicines causes patients to stretch out their prescriptions by skipping or taking smaller doses than prescribed. In in a recent Health Affairs study, (Medication Affordability Gains Following Medicare Part D Are Eroding Among Elderly with Multiple Chronic Conditions) seniors experiencing four or more chronic conditions reported a cost-related non-adherence rise from a low of 14.4% in 2009 to 17% in 2011.

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Speak Out About Potential Reductions to Medicare Part D Benefits

Last Tuesday, September 30, DBSA participant Trudy Lapin shared her story during two Congressional briefings sponsored by the Partnership for Part D Access. Trudy used her time to explain to Congressional staff from both the House and the Senate why a proposed regulation by CMS to restrict access to medication that aids in the treatment of mood disorders is misguided. You can read Trudy’s statement below, and learn how you can share your story with your own elected officials.

Treatment is not one size fits all
Although I was first diagnosed officially with major depression in 1993, signs of that particular mood disorder appeared in childhood. While attending college, an over achieving pattern went into high gear. I elected a double major in French and English literature with a minor in secondary education. I graduated with highest honors; accepted a full fellowship to Yale Graduate School to pursue my doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures; taught French language, literature, and film at Yale College and at the University of Chicago; and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, where I enjoyed the privilege of working with humanities scholars at Princeton University.

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How Will You Protect Access to Quality Mental Health Care for Seniors?

Today the Partnership for Medicare Part D will hold a Congressional briefing to discuss the significance of Medicare’s “Six Protected Classes” policy giving seniors access to quality mental health care. While you may not be able to attend in person, it is still critical that you educate your Congressional Representative and Senators on the importance of retaining these benefits.

How Will You Protect Access to Quality Mental Health Care for Seniors?
According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation depression impacts more than 6 million of the 40 million Americans over 65. Health problems become more common and increasingly complex as seniors age. With the onset of more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, individualized medicine becomes increasingly critical to helping seniors manage their mental and physical health.

This is why Congress carved out six protected classes of medications when they authorized Medicare Part D. Their intent was that seniors would have access to these medications without regulatory burdens. The preservation of the six protected classes is critical to providing treatment for serious, complex health conditions without delay or restricted access to essential treatment.

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How You Can Educate Local and State Officials to Increase School Mental Health Services

Kelly Vaillancourt, PhD, NCSP
Director of Government Relations, National Association of School Psychologists

Last week, Kelly Vaillancourt provided an easy way for you to advocate to members of Congress about providing mental health services in schools. Now, she offers some ideas about how you can effectively interact with local and state officials in order to make meaningful and substantial progress toward increasing access to comprehensive mental health services. Dr. Vaillancourt is director of government relations at the National Association of School Psychologists, which represents over 25,000 school psychologists. These professionals work with students, educators, administrators, and families to support the academic achievement, positive behavior, and mental health of all students, especially those who struggle with barriers to learning. Your voice is critical in helping ensure that all children, youth, and adults have access to the mental and behavioral health services they need and there are many quick and easy ways that you can be an effective advocate. Here, we focus on the ways you can educate and advocate at the local and state levels.

Educate School Boards about Comprehensive Mental Health Supports

  • Identify your local school board members. Review facts about them including involvement in education and with other community organizations. Furthermore, educate yourself on the jurisdiction the school board has over local policy and budget decisions as this can vary across districts and states.

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National Association of School Psychologists Issues Call to Action

Kelly Vaillancourt, PhD, NCSP
Director of Government Relations, National Association of School Psychologists

Recently on Care for Your Mind, Dr. Anne Marie Albano contended that schools are the right place for kids to get treatment for social anxiety disorder. Today, Kelly Vaillancourt of the National Association of School Psychologists offers an easy way for you to advocate for school-based psychological services.

In order to make meaningful and substantial progress toward increasing access to comprehensive mental health services, we must call upon our local, state, and federal policy makers to act. We need to

  • educate legislators and government officials about evidence-based policies and practices
  • encourage them to allocate the necessary funding to ensure these practices are in places in our schools and communities.

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Why I’m Speaking Out Against the Proposed Medicare Part D Change — And Why You Should, Too

CalabereseJoseph R. Calabrese, M.D.
Director, Mood Disorders Program, University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Bipolar Disorder Research Chair & Professor of Psychiatry, CWRU School of Medicine
Dir., Bipolar Disorders Research Center

This week we are pleased to post the expert opinion of Joseph Calabrese, M.D. on the serious consequences of the proposed regulation to limit access to antidepressant, immunosuppressant and antipsychotic medications for recipients of Medicare Part D. Read the post and take action by participating in the conversation. This enables all of us to share these collective stories with our elected officials through e-mails, letters and in-person visits.

Why I’m Speaking Out Against the Proposed Medicare Part D Change —
And Why You Should, Too

Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would initiate major changes to prescription drug plans under Medicare Part D. These changes would severely limit access to medications that are commonly used to treat serious mental illness and create serious challenges for people who have these mental health disorders.

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How Will You Make Your Voice Heard in 2014?

bottleIn recent posts, guest editors, CFYM editors and our readers have shared their ideas about the status of access to quality mental health care in 2014. Will it be a year we look back on as a turning point in the fight for civil rights for people living with mood disorders?  Or will it will be a year that we give back some hard earned gains.

In recent posts, guest editors, CFYM editors and our readers have shared their ideas about the status of access to quality mental health care in 2014. Will it be a year we look back on as a turning point in the fight for civil rights for people living with mood disorders?  Or will it will be a year that we give back some hard earned gains.

There is much to be to keep our eye on in the coming year. During the winding days of Congress, before the holiday recess, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 3717 was introduced. Many advocacy groups voiced their thoughts on this bill including Mental Health AmericaNational Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Council for Behavioral Health, to name a few.

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