As Mental Health Awareness Month Ends, Our Efforts Must Not
United States of Care joined countless other organizations in recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the month, United States of Care has highlighted state-based policies that increase access to affordable behavioral health care. It is our belief that every American should have access to quality mental health care regardless of their ability to afford that care. You can find USofCare’s statement on Mental Health Awareness Month here.
We highlighted members of our Founder’s Council and asked them to share their experiences with mental health and mental health care.
A common theme shared with us by all of our Founder’s Council members is the importance of access to behavioral health care. Even with the lack of meaningful federal action to address mental health disparity and access, states are beginning to step up to help improve the situation. Improving housing services is an option states can use to improve overall mental health, which we addressed in another of our blogs published for Mental Health Awareness Month here.
As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month it is important to note that this is an issue that deserves and demands our full attention year-round. Far too many Americans are suffering from mental health illnesses and substance use disorders every day for us to confine these issues to a single month of awareness.
We encourage those who need help to seek it out, we encourage policymakers to make that help accessible and affordable, and we encourage every American to work together, to push their elected leaders, to end the stigma surrounding many of these mental health issues in order to ensure everyone, regardless of race, creed or origin, can get the help they need.
We encourage states to take steps to increase the affordability of mental health treatment, enforce mental health parity laws, and simplify the claims process so families will not unfairly be denied coverage.
Here are some helpful organizations for those who wish to learn more about behavioral health:
- Well Being Trust | One of United States of Care’s partners, Well Being Trust is dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation.
- NAMI | The National Alliance On Mental Illness is a United States-based advocacy group originally founded as a grassroots group by family members of people diagnosed with mental illness.
- Kennedy Forum | The Kennedy Forum is working toward lasting change in the way mental health and addictions are treated in our healthcare system
- Carter Center | The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program works to promote awareness about mental health issues, inform public policy, achieve equity for mental health care comparable to other health care, and reduce stigma and discrimination against those with mental illnesses.
- National Council for Behavioral Health | The National Council for Behavioral Health is the nation’s voice of mental health and addiction providers who care for 10 million adults and children.
You are not alone, here are some helpful resources for any who are seeking help:
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline | Call 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741 | 24/7 Crisis support in the US
- The Trevor Project | LGBTQ youth suicide prevention & crisis intervention
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) | Sexual assault
- Lines for Life | Substance abuse prevention and education