Reform: It’s not a glamorous topic, but one very much at the forefront of the battle to make proper mental health care a true reality in our country. I’d like to get a dialogue going on the various article-based points in this post. Whether it’s here, or you take this topic with you as a talking point into your own personal conversations. As long as you’re talking about the current state of mental health care, I’m happy.

Politicians and health care administrators can think they know what’s best for us all they want, however as recipients of mental health care, I feel we have much more of an insider’s perspective. Wouldn’t you agree? How can we use that for the greater good and effect real change in the system? As individuals what can we do, and how?

Looking back at the 21st Century Cures Act: I believe it was set up in good faith by the Obama administration, with attempts to help preempt mass shootings and other acts of violence, fund prescription drug R&D, and strengthen the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996, but likely won’t be administered as such. Case in point, specifically on my favorite topic — peer support, from a Mad in America article: “Money is also being taken away from peer support efforts, as these are deemed inessential and a waste of money. Peers, in the mental health system, are considered any individuals who use their own lived experiences with similar issues to support those in crisis. In other words, those who have been there help out those who are having difficulty finding their way. At the same time, the peer supports that are being funded are going to be transformed into some kind of clinical caricature, wherein peers must follow clinical guidelines established by medical doctors that, basically, amount to telling people to take their meds. Peer support, which can be enormously helpful for many, is being corporatized and “manualized” to fit into the current psychiatric machine.”

^NO, NO, NO!^

“The thing is, relationships don’t always require a manual. And sometimes, when a person has been through something and comes out the other side, that person might actually have an idea or two on what could be helpful to someone else.” (Hmm…sounds familiar to me)

^YES, YES, YES!^

Going forward, given the current political climate, we’ve again got consumers of mental healthcare now worried over the possible repeal of Obamacare which brings with it the threat of pre-existing conditions stopping them from obtaining health care coverage. In fact two of my own clients have expressed their concerns regarding obtaining either mental health coverage or a diagnosis due to fears of this exact threat. Pre-Obamacare, I was personally denied health coverage by multiple providers for a pre-existing diagnosis of depression and anxiety. To this day it gets a rise out of me just thinking about it. Suffice to say however, one could safely assume that essentially being left for dead in your early twenties would be upsetting.

A great U.S. News article penned by my personal inspiration for the foundation of my project, Dr. Lloyd Sederer, articulates one thing we are all very familiar with in the wake of the new presidency: We are going to have to stand up and fight. Speak up, speak out, take action.

As Aziz Ansari both shrewdly and comedically reminded us in his recent SNL monologue: “change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people — and if day one is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen. Good luck.”

Now here we are, 4 months into the new presidency with nothing but question marks in the air as to what the future of mental health care looks like for us, and how we fit into this already broken system. The least we can do is educate ourselves, and those around us. TALK ABOUT IT…Here’s a really great article with some incredibly keen, easily understood talking points. Start a dialogue. Speak up (kindly) when you hear people say things out of ignorance or stigma. Use the tools we already have like social media, and support/advocacy/awareness groups like NAMI and Bringchange2mind. GET INVOLVED HOWEVER YOU CAN.

If you take away nothing else from the information presented here, at least take the resolute notion that as long as we continue to fight for what is right in our community, and for what we need, WE WILL BE HEARD. I urge you to make this a topic of civil conversation, whether for your own benefit, for someone you love, or for the greater good. And remember, all progress takes place outside the comfort zone. Start talking!

Peace, love, and wellness.

 

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