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Mental Health America Blog

Mental Health America Blog - Chiming In

by Kelly Davis, Policy and Programming Associate

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.

Individuals with...

By Casey Dillon, Advocacy Associate

Halloween costumes are meant to be scary or funny, but costumes such as “Gone Mental” that caricature individuals in psychiatric hospitals are neither. They are offensive and harmful.

Individuals living with mental health conditions are not costume characters. Mental health conditions do not make someone a serial...

By Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA

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....

By Kelly Davis, MHA Policy and Programming Associate

After reading this Washington Post article about Alfred Postell, the Harvard Law graduate experiencing homelessness and diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was overwhelmed with frustration. While this man is important and deserves access to services, the story brings up important questions to ask in our mainstream...

By Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO

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.

Last week, I testified at a Congressional hearing on HR 2646 – the 2015 Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. It’s a brand new bill from the one we saw last year that we were unable to support. It emphasizes screening, secondary and tertiary prevention, early intervention,...

By David L. Shern, Ph.D. and Andrea K. Blanch, Ph.D.

At the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research recently held in Washington, David Orszag, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, presented sobering data on the effects of inequality on US life expectancy.  While life expectancy has increased in the US over the last decade, women in the lowest SES classes...

By Andrea Blanch, Ph.D. and David Shern, Ph.D.

Two weeks ago, Liberia was officially declared “Ebola free.”  Liberia was ground zero of the Ebola epidemic, with confirmed cases in all 15 counties and almost 5,000 Ebola-related deaths.  Chronic poverty and years of civil war had devastated the country’s health care system. At the height of the epidemic, containing the disease seemed almost impossible.  But the last reported case was in March.

What led to this turnaround?  Several factors contributed. Donor nations and international...

By David L. Shern, Ph.D. and Andrea K. Blanch, Ph.D.

Nothing garners more public and policy attention to mental illness than mass shootings involving a shooter diagnosed with a mental illness.  Unfortunately, the end result of this attention is almost always negative.  With each response, the stereotyped image of “the violent mentally ill” is reinforced in the public mind.  Anti-stigma campaigns can’t possibly undo the damage, and millions of hard-working American citizens are stigmatized because of a diagnosis.  Just as disturbing, public policies developed in response to...

By Andrea Blanch, Ph.D. and David Shern, Ph.D.

In Kansas City, local leaders have created an innovative vision for a healthier community...

By David Shern, Ph.D. and Andrea Blanch, Ph.D.

In a recent New York Times Op-ed, T.M. Luhrmann expands on a recent paper by the British Psychological Association on redefining mental illness.  She makes several important points about mental health symptoms and our strategies for addressing them.

First, rather than...

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