Democratic Policy Committee talks mental health
UPPER DARBY — Medical professionals and mental health advocates testified Wednesday afternoon before the Democratic Policy Committee asking to bring reform to mental health coverage in the state.
State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby, hosted the hearing in the council chambers of the Upper Darby Municipal Building, joined by policy committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-96, of Lancaster, and other state leaders to discuss better access and treatment for those with a mental health diagnosis.
“We have to fix this system,” said Davison, “there has to be parity so people have access to deal with their brain disease and brain illness.”
As Davidson reminded committee and audience members that because her son, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, didn’t fall into one of the insurance company’s three “boxes” — hospitalization, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient — she had to fight nine months with her insurance company to allow him to get the level of care he needed when first diagnosed.
“It was a nightmare from start to finish,” Davidson said.
Of those to testify before the committee was Alyssa Goodin, director of policy and advocacy at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, who spoke at length about proper care for those who need it.
“One of the most expansive ways we can increase access to behavioral health services is through the acceptance of federal dollars to expand our current Medicaid program,” Goodin said.
Goodin stated that Medicaid expansion will not only be beneficial to the state’s economy and job growth, but that it’s a “safety net” for those whose insurance doesn’t cover comprehensive behavioral health coverage.
Right now it's a pilot program from the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Like many people, Cynthia Butts struggles with depression and anxiety. It stems from childhood experiences.
She goes to traditional therapy, but recently also went through the city's 'Beating the Blues' online program.
"It's important to remember our thoughts are not facts," Cynthia said.
Jake Bowling from the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania shows us how it works.
There are eight 50-minute sessions. They're user-friendly and can be done right at home.
* Create awareness surrounding positive mental health practicesand supports. Actively work to reduce stigma, awareness of mentalhealth needs and promote wellness programs.
* Contact your local, state and federal legislators to requestfunding for early intervention and prevention programs, enactinganti-bullying legislation and promoting the "system of care" approach.
* Encourage culturally and linguistically competent supports andservices.
* One in five young people have one or more mental, emotional, orbehavioral challenges. One in ten youth have challenges that are severeenough to impair how they function at home, school, or in the community.
Please join me in congratulating Becky on receiving the Family Leadership Award, given by the Family Recourse Network (FRN) at their family recognition celebration last Saturday, April 26th. (photos of the event will be posted soon!)
Becky has been a committed and tireless family advocate for over a decade here at MHASP. And as most of you know, her support, enthusiasm, generosity and compassion is boundless.
She can be counted on to provide information, support or at times a homemade cake , when there is a need.
Thank you Becky for all you do here at MHASP and for those in the community who you support and assist.
For nearly three decades, the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP) has been a leader in the creation, implementation, development and promotion of services run by and for individuals with mental health conditions, also called consumers or peers. In 1984, MHASP—founded in 1951 as a regional advocacy agency serving individuals with mental health conditions and their families—launched an initiative to create consumer self-help/advocacy groups to help these individuals empower themselves and work toward recovery. Today, MHASP has earned an international reputation for designing and implementing dozens of peer-to-peer services, for participating in rigorous research to demonstrate the effectiveness of peer-run services, for providing technical assistance and training to enable others to replicate these model peer-run programs around the United States and for leadership in promoting the burgeoning profession of certified peer specialist (CPS), whose practitioners, in recovery themselves, help their peers on their own recovery journeys.
She helped develop a class for family members who want to get off the carnival ride. Beginning this month, it will be offered in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.
With the pressures facing most people today, it is essential to take your mental health seriously. This is especially true for college students and young people, whose lack of experience in the real world could lead to major mental health issues resulting from stress, overwork, fatigue, or even the onset of a more serious mental illness. In fact, up to 75 percent of college students with possible mental health issues do not seek help for what ails them.
While this resource is meant to provide college students and young people with quality information on maintaining good mental health and identifying mental health issues, it is not meant to take the place of professional advice from a qualified mental health specialist. Anyone who wishes to learn more keeping tabs on their mental health should consider taking this mental health assessment before diving into the resource.
Most Common Mental Health Issues Facing College Students
Below is a list of serious mental health issues known to affect college students and young people: