Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have now introduced the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015. While Mental Health America has not yet formally endorsed it or its House counterpart, we consider it another important step toward making comprehensive mental health reform a reality in America.
It builds on H.R. 2646, the Murphy-Johnson proposal introduced two months ago in the House, incorporating many of the provisions that Mental Health America has made a priority in our advocacy for many years.
It’s a whole new ballgame in Congress this year. People are talking to one another, instead of shouting at one another. And there is a sense that as a result comprehensive mental health reform legislation will finally get serious consideration.
There are half a million homeless people with serious mental illnesses in desperate need of help yet underserved or ignored by our health and social-service systems. That number can seem overwhelming, but for me, it’s all about one person: my son Tim.
Early Saturday morning, I saw the op-ed that you both authored which ran in the Wall Street Journal.
It pretty much was all I could think of over the weekend. At first I was very, very angry. This was because it hurt me personally, as a family member, as a mental health advocate, and as a social worker.
By: Nathaniel Z. Counts, J.D., Director of Policy, Mental Health America, and Aaron Konopasky, J.D., Ph.D., Senior Attorney-Advisor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
At Mental Health America (MHA), we work to make sure people can get help Before Stage 4. When we think of cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat people. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan to treat and support the person. We need to do the same with mental health.
A big word in mental health right now is ‘stigma,’ but many advocates and consumers do not think this is the correct word to use in the context of mental health. Stigma campaigns focus on raising awareness to remove individual blame from mental health disorders, increase help seeking behavior, and show just how common these disorders are. Critics of the campaigns come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs but almost all agree that stigma is not the appropriate way to describe what is happening.