One in five Americans will experience a mental health condition at some time in their lives. Members of Congress have a stark choice to make: to invest as a nation in real care to support strong mental health services.
In May 2014, I lost my 17-year-old daughter, Avery, to the demons of depression. She was a gifted student, two-sport Varsity athlete, an editor for her school paper, class treasurer, peer leader/mentor, and a very loving daughter. Suicide does not discriminate. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
There are three key investments that will help those living with mental illness and substance use disorders and prevent suicide.
Enforce mental health parity and ensure that access to mental health and substance use disorders remains an essential health benefit in any health care plan. Insurers must be required to cover mental health and substance use disorders the same way they cover physical health care.
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Preserve Medicaid. Many depend on Medicaid for health needs like medication and mental health care, especially those who are older or need special assistance.
Invest in resources to support the mental health support system for our military personnel and veterans.
The choice is clear. We need to invest in the right training, resources, and knowledge to help people with mental health needs.
Learn how to join me and thousands of others to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention at https://afsp.org/afspforum17. We’ll be talking with members of Congress on June 13 about incorporating these investments in any health care legislation, and we need YOUR voice.
Carol Cantor, Glencoe, Missouri