During the past year, government leaders responded to national events by promising better funding and more attention to mental health care in general. Recently, a few leaders took steps toward living up to those promises.
On the federal level, Vice President Biden announced that $100 million would be earmarked for improving access to mental healthcare services. Community-based mental health centers and services for rural areas were particularly noted as in line for better funding.
In Congress, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania recently proposed a bill to create revenue for better mental health care services. The Congressman encouraged all professionals affected by mental health care (first responders, teachers, doctors etc.) to speak with their local representatives to let them know how important investing in mental health care is to them.
Ron Hoberg, Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that less than one half of those living with a serious mental disorder have access to needed treatment. He also points out that, at the same time, states have lost $4 billion in mental health care funding as a result of the nation’s great recession.
According to NAMI, 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, have voted to spend more on mental health care. Those funds have gone toward things like promoting school-based instruction on recognizing signs of mental illness. Past monies were mainly allocated toward those well enough to seek out services. Now, after seeing that people with mental illness are often not in treatment, the nation is pushing for increased accessibility and improved numbers of mentally ill individuals receiving appropriate treatment.
If someone you care about is struggling with mental illness, it’s important that they receive much needed support and care. Mental illness, like other physical illnesses, deserves attention and treatment. With proper diagnosis and symptom management, many return to a quality of life. Contact the St Joseph Family Guidance Center to take the first step today.