Advocacy Alert: There is No Health without Mental Health

The phrase “There is no health without mental health” has been a rallying cry for a long time for NAMI South Bay and all the NAMI affiliates across the nation. Progress seems to have been made over the last few years to have mental health as an essential benefit and to have mental health parity with much more to be done. Now with the current House legislation and the proposed Senate legislation mental health could be waived as an essential benefit and mental health parity could face a very serious setback.

Further, the proposed caps on Medicaid funding, which is Medi-Cal in California, would mean more people would not get mental health treatment and the availability and quality would be severely impacted. If hundreds of billions of dollars are cut from Medicaid, it will be harder for people on Medicaid to get psychiatric medications, case management and mental health services. And some people will lose their eligibility for Medicaid. This will push people with mental illness into costly emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.

The Senate should protect Medicaid and SAY NO to any health reform bill that:

  • Caps or limits Medicaid;
  • Ends Medicaid expansion;
  • Takes away protections for people with mental health conditions; or
  • Leaves fewer Americans with coverage for mental illness.

Please contact our Senators Feinstein and Harris to let them know that we cannot accept these reductions in mental health treatment funding and parity. They have already taken positions supporting our efforts but we need to let them know the depth of our concerns. Further, if you have families, friends or colleagues in other states please share your story and concerns with them so they can contact their senators.

CALL Now!

EMAIL Now!

Please see below for more information for you to consider.

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

For a comparison of the legistation with the current Affordable Care Act please see this link.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

June Meeting: How to Find Mental Health Resources on the Internet

Monday, June 19, 2017: Please come and and discuss with John Conway, our Vice President and Website Manager, and with Paul Stansbury, our President, resources, sites and links to resource regarding mental illness on the internet. Please come and share internet resources you may use with us and NAMI South Bay members.

Among the resources we plan to discuss are:

No special knowledge is necessary. We will meeting for the Internet workshop at 7:30 PM in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson, Torrance.

The Caring and Sharing Support Groups will meet at 6 PM.

Call to Action — Long Beach Needs a Showing of Support

Long Beach City Council Meeting
Tuesday, May 23rd at 5:00 PM
333 W. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach 90802
*******************************************
Address of Proposed Site:
3200 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach

Please come and support the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center. These services are urgently needed to assist people with mental health disorders and reduce the long waiting times in emergency rooms. If this site is denied there is not a backup plan and this essential service for those in a mental health crisis will be lost to Long Beach. Your support at the Planning Commission Meeting was wonderful. It is now time to finish this process and get started with helping the community.

Parking will be validated and FREE inside the parking structure at 332 W. Broadway. The parking structure entrance is located off W. Broadway (one-way street). Take parking ticket inside the Council Chambers with you. (Follow the blue arrows to get to the City Hall building) the “validation” stamp machine is located at the front of the Council Chambers on the first floor (in front of Minute Clerk’s desk).

There is a clear need for this center, and the location has been carefully selected. Not everyone understands the need for this facility, and some actually oppose it. However, the practices and procedures of this facility will not negatively affect the neighborhood. (CLICK HERE to see answers to commonly asked questions.) Your help is needed.

Because of the shortage of psychiatric mobile response teams, police and sheriff departments in Long Beach and surrounding cities have the difficult task of responding to mental health-related calls. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center is a facility that will save law enforcement time in the field, will decrease the burden on hospital emergency rooms, and will help prevent unnecessary incarceration by providing medical treatment instead.

BHUCC will be a place where people with mental illness can go to be stabilized (instead of going to the hospital ER). It can be compared to an Urgent Care Center (where people often go for a medical emergency instead of going to the hospital ER).

The BHUCC provides:

  • Crisis stabilization service
  • Up to 12 adults and 6 adolescents (estimate about 30 clients a day)
  • Doctors, nurses, therapists, peer counselors
  • 24/7 Outpatient Program
  • Patients may stay up to 24 hours
  • Average stay is 4 to 6 hours
  • Round the clock security staff
  • Discharged patients leave the area and return to their home and community services

Learn more at http://www.starsinc.com/bhucc

 

Major Medical Organizations Call upon the Senate to “Do the Right Thing”

In response to the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) yesterday, six major medical organizations jointly released a statement urging the Senate to “put aside” the AHCA and instead work with them to “achieve real bipartisan solutions to improve affordability, access, and coverage for all.”

The six groups that signed onto the statement are the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Osteopathic Association. They collectively represent more than 560,000 physicians and medical students. Among other things, the statement says:

Before and throughout the AHCA debate, our organizations continually offered constructive ideas on achieving agreement on legislation consistent with our shared principles. Regrettably, the AHCA, as amended and passed by the House, violates our principles, dramatically increasing costs for older individuals, resulting in millions of people losing their health care coverage, and returning to a system that allows insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

We also oppose the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts, including capping and cutting the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid, sunsetting federal funding for Medicaid expansion, and eliminating Medicaid coverage of essential benefits.”

In addition to encouraging the Senate to not take up the AHCA “in any form,” the statement encourages the Senate to take the following actions:

  • Work to achieve real bipartisan solutions to ensure that coverage remains affordable.
  • Stabilize the individual market.
  • Ensure long-term, adequate funding for the CHIP program.
  • Make primary, preventive, and mental health and substance use services more readily available to all Americans.
  • Lower the costs of pharmaceutical treatments.
  • Reform medical liability laws.
  • Reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that add costs and take time away from patients.

The statement concludes: “We stand ready to assist the Congress on achieving these and other necessary improvements.”

How does the health care bill affect mental health?

  • The AHCA will strip over $800 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years, forcing states to slash mental health services.
  • 24 million Americans will lose insurance for mental health care.
  • Allows states to:
    • Drop coverage of mental health and substance use (one of the essential health benefits) from insurance plans
    • Charge people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety.
    • Create high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage

 

May is Mental Health Month

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition, as 1 in 5 U.S. adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. However, everyone is affected or impacted by mental illness through friends and family.

Throughout May, NAMI and participants across the country are raising awareness for mental health. Each year, we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger. Help us spread the word through the many awareness, support and advocacy activities below by showing you’re #IntoMentalHealth.

 

Five Reasons to Attend the NAMI National Convention

  1. Learn exciting research, tools, treatment options and recovery strategies directly from experts
  2. Discover how to lead effective mental health advocacy efforts
  3. Hear relatable stories and make personal connections with powerful impact
  4. Find day-to-day support through coping strategies, health and wellness activities, and legal services
  5. Earn continuing education credits as a licensed counselor, social worker or registered nurse

The NAMI National Convention connects and inspires people with or affected by a mental illness who are looking for resources, research, support services and recovery strategies. Join this diverse, action-driven gathering of individuals with mental health conditions, family members and caregivers, policymakers, educators, researchers, clinicians, providers, exhibitors, sponsors and press this year in Washington, D.C.

The 
First-on-Board member rate of just $195 is only available until January 31.

To learn more about program offerings, CLICK HERE.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Thanks Governor for Signing Student Suicide Prevention Bill

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation requiring schools that serve students from grades 7 to 12 to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Torlakson supported AB 2246 by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, signed on Monday, September 26, requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and maintain a model suicide prevention policy.

“With this change, we can better identify students in need, get them help, and keep them safe,” Torlakson said. “One of my top priorities is serving the needs of the whole child, including their mental health needs. This bill is a big step forward in our ongoing efforts to help our students.”

“As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers, and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

Torlakson is a longtime supporter of expanding mental health services and preventing suicides. When Torlakson served in the California State Senate in 2004, he was state co-chair of the campaign for Proposition 63, a measure that increased income taxes on the wealthy to fund mental health programs.

As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Torlakson convened a Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. The group of 40 experts has conducted 20 free trainings in suicide prevention across the state for more than 500 teachers.

Earlier this year, CDE released the Healthy Kids Survey, which describes how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment.

The survey showed schools need to focus more attention on better meeting the needs of youth. For example, two indicators of depression risk showed little change since the last survey two years ago.

Nearly one-fourth of seventh graders and around one-third of ninth and eleventh graders reported feelings of chronic sadness or hopelessness. And, almost 20 percent of high school students had seriously contemplated suicide.

Torlakson in 2014 released a letter encouraging school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies. Under the new law, each district will be required to adopt suicide policies beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

In 2014, there were nearly 2,300 suicide attempts by students 15 to 19 years old in California.

Image: dollarphotoclub_63337352.