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.

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

 

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.

 

Advocacy Alert

Mental health coverage
is at risk

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.

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

Call Now

Email Now

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Psychotic Experiences Are Not Always a Sign of Mental Illness

Hearing Voices UMB-O Dollarphotoclub_73109512According to a July 2015 article by Anna Medaris Miller for U.S. News and World Report, there are “lots of potential reasons someone might hear voices, including anxiety, stress, depression and a history of trauma.”

Of course, all of these are “good reasons to seek mental health help.” But don’t conclude that a mental illness diagnosis is the only outcome.

In the article, Miller quotes Lisa Forestell, the director of community support at Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community who has heard voices her entire life. “They’re playful and silly and they try to cheer me up when I’m sad.” She also quotes Dr. John McGrath, a professor of psychiatry at The University of Queensland in Australia and researcher at the Queensland Brain Institute whose research team found that 2.5% of the population has heard voices and 3.8% has seen something others didn’t see. Psychotic experiences, he says, “are more common than we had been taught. What we really have to do is go back and revise how these symptoms fit into the profile of mental illness.”

This isn’t to say that hallucinations are never a symptom of mental illness. The point really is that hallucinations are a symptom with a variety of possible causes, including mental illness, but possibly also stress or trauma. Dr. Joseph Pierre, co-chief of the Schizophrenia Treatment Unit at VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, and also discussed in the article, conducted a study that compared 118 people who hear voices at least once a month and have a psychotic diagnosis to 111 people who hear voices at least once a month but don’t have mental illness. He found differences, including the tendency for people with psychosis to hear voices more often, to hear them express negative emotions. The diagnosed psychotic subjects also had little control over their voices. In his study, Pierre compared hearing voices to coughs — “common experiences that are often, but not always, symptoms of pathology associated with a larger illness.”

To read the article see Living With the Voices in Your Head.

Psychosis Does Not Foreshadow Violence

FROM Psychiatric News Alert: Contrary to the common belief that mental illness is associated with violence, hallucinations and delusions associated with psychiatric disorders seldom foreshadow acts of aggression, according to findings published in Clinical Psychological Science.

The study examined data from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study (a project that tracked the prevalence of community violence in a sample of more than 1,100 men and women during the year following their discharge from acute psychiatric facilities) to identify former inpatients with two or more violent incidents, and included interviews with the former inpatients, family members and friends to assess the factors that preceded violent acts. The authors concluded that psychosis immediately preceded 12% of violent incidents following the release from psychiatric facilities. Said study author Jennifer Skeem, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, in a press release:

“High-profile mass shootings capture public attention and increase vigilance of people with mental illness. These findings suggest that psychosis sometimes foreshadows violence for a fraction of high-risk individuals, but violence prevention efforts should also target factors like anger and social deviance.”

For more on violence and mental illness, see the Psychiatric Newsarticle “Capitol Hill Gets Straight Story on Gun Violence, Mental Illness.” Also, see a related article in Psychiatric Services, Applicability of the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model to Persons With Mental Illness Involved in the Criminal Justice System.”

Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails

The Problem

The number of people with mental illness in U.S. jails has reached crisis levels. In counties across the nation, jails now have more people with mental illnesses than in their psychiatric hospitals.

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The People

The situation is hurting real people. But communities, judges, police officers, mental health professionals and others have already started stepping up to combat the problem.

What You Can Do

Stepping Up asks communities to come together to develop an action plan that can be used to achieve measurable impact in local criminal justice systems of all sizes across the country. Learn More