Advocacy E-News February 29, 2016
February 29, 2016
WHERE THE 2016 CANDIDATES STAND ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Nearly one in five Americans experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. But in an election cycle often dominated by worries about the economy and national security, mental health gets comparatively little exposure as a serious issue on the presidential campaign trail. Some candidates have joked about the issue.
HOSPITALS’ NEW MISSION: FINDING VETS
A program is helping veterans get timely medical appointments, behavioral health care, housing assistance and employment services through a six-month pilot project that launched in January. The program trains veterans to serve as health care navigators to connect former service members to a multitude of programs like behavioral health care, medical appointments, housing assistance and employment services available to help them. Veterans and their families can call a statewide 24-hour, seven-day helpline offered through Rutgers University using a state grant. The program is funded through the first half of 2016. The helpline is (866) 838-7654.
EMPLOYERS HELP LIFT THE VEIL ON MENTAL HEALTH
Though it once took a back seat to workplace programs focused on the physical and financial aspects of worker health, behavioral health has emerged as the new frontier of employee wellness. Employers such as Michelin North America Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Comcast Corp. are making mental health and wellness part of the workplace culture by giving employees the tools they need to combat depression, anxiety and stress, as well as tackle issues like substance abuse and alcoholism.
AN INSURANCE PENALTY FROM POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
In January, a government-appointed panel recommended that all pregnant women and new mothers be screened for depression. Public health advocates rejoiced, as did untold numbers of women who had not known that maternal mental illness even existed before it hit them like a freight train. But the panel did not mention one possible consequence of a diagnosis: Life and disability insurance providers have sometimes penalized women with these mental illnesses by charging them more money, excluding mental illness from coverage or declining to cover them at all. And it’s perfectly legal.