By Care for Your Mind, based on material from the
National Association of Social Workers
March has been National Social Work Month, prompting us to look at the vital role of social workers in improving our health and society.
Susan Weinstein, Editor in Chief
Care for Your Mind
Black History Month provides an opportunity to consider the lives of African-Americans and other Black people in the U.S. At Care for Your Mind, every week we look at issues of quality of and access to mental health care. That leads us to approaching Black History Month with the objective of recognizing barriers to care today, understanding why they exist, and seeking answers to the question of what can be done to improve both the quality of and access to mental health care.
Allen Doederlein, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Among people who advocate for any health issue, there often exists a dynamic tension between championship of the perfect treatment scenario for each individual with a particular condition and, on the other hand, the desire to meet the most important and frequently occurring needs of as many people as possible within the total population affected by the same condition.
Christoph U. Correll, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY
Being human is defined by many things. One important definition is the degree of freedom in experiencing and expressing oneself in areas that determine our life. These fundamental aspects include perceiving, feeling, thinking, and behaving. Just as critical are our muscles and motor system, which enable us to respond to and explore the world. Being in control of our fingers, arms, legs, trunk, and especially our facial muscles is crucial. It allows us to effectively communicate with the world and people around us. But what if, in addition to living with a mental health condition, we also had to navigate the world with a lack of motor skills. For many this is reality.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar I, Anxiety with Panic Attacks, and Agoraphobia in 1994. I have a long history of medications working for a year or so, then suddenly stop working. Because of this, I have been on a laundry list of medications over the last twenty-three years. I have experienced my fair share of obscure side effects that were so strange in the moment, but are sometimes a means to an end if the result is psychiatric calm. I have been on medications that caused weight gain, insomnia, excessive sleepiness, lactation, nausea, restless legs, and migraines.
Policy Communications Director
Alliance for Patient Access, a member of the Movement Disorders Policy Coalition
Movement disorders affect millions of people, impacting their mobility, self-sufficiency, and day-to-day lives. Everyday activities such as feeding, dressing, or driving become challenging if not impossible. Symptoms also exact a heavy toll on patients’ social and emotional lives, with many battling mental health conditions.
Theresa Nguyen, LCSW, Vice President of Policy and Programs
Mental Health America
If you have a mental health problem and you are young – or you live in Nevada, Mississippi, or Alabama – chances are you are going to have, or have already faced, incredible difficulty getting the support you need.
Health Care for All
Sometimes research takes you down a different path than the one you had planned. That’s what happened at Health Care For All (HCFA), a Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that works to ensure health care access, quality, and affordability for all Massachusetts residents. We believe that our findings and recommendations can positively influence mental health care outcomes in Massachusetts and beyond.