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A Long Road to Finding Me

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A Long Road to Finding Me

I write songs about my struggles, but they come from a place of strength and fortitude. They are a reflection of how I am fighting back against the demons and putting them in their proper place each day.

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6 BARRIERS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS

BARRIER #1: ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS

Attitudinal barriers commonly cause those living with mental illness to avoid seeking mental health services. These attitudinal barriers can include believing that a mental illness will resolve on its own or not believing in the beneficial aspects of psychiatric care.

As an example, look to a 2009 Psychiatric Services study which examined needs for mental health services in a sample of 272 veterans who met screening criteria for a mental health condition. Researchers found that negative beliefs about mental health services were strongly associated with concerns about barriers to care and an increased perception of mental illness stigma. Negative beliefs about mental health care were also associated with a decreased likelihood of mental health counseling in the six months prior to interview.

Can attitudinal barriers be adjusted?

Educational interventions introduced throughout the early school years could work to develop a better publicly-shared understanding about mental illness. Ideally, educational interventions would orient children and young adults toward social inclusion and pro-social action. Programs introduced during the final years of high school could include contact with a person living with mental illness; this person could contribute to the intervention process on a voluntary basis by sharing her/his experience of living with a mental health condition. Interventions successful in aiding the development of empathy toward those with mental illness may prove successful in removing attitudinal barriers toward mental health issues and treatment.

Strengthening support in local communities could be facilitated by the creation of weekly or monthly community meetings centered around mental health and well-being. Meetings would bring community members together with the shared goals of spreading information about mental health issues and resources, bolstering public support, and creating community bonds. If a wellness group is missing in your community, consider discussing with friends, family or town board members the possibility of starting a mental health and wellness group near you. The number of interested people may surprise you!

Note: Some organizations, such as NoStigmas and Mental Health America, provide a link for locating mental health support facilities across the country.

6 BARRIERS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS was originally published on NoStigmas.org | Redefining Mental Health

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Insurance

Overview

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (sometimes referred to as Obamacare) will begin to take effect. A comprehensive summary of the entire Act can be found here, but here’s a quick overview of some of the changes that will take place:

  • Comprehensive and accessible treatment options
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • No more dropped coverage due to illness
  • More access to preventative care
  • Restrictions on lifetime and annual limits
  • Coverage for young adults under parents’ plan until age 26
  • More access to Medicaid**

Affordable Care Act & Mental Health

The Affordable Care Act offers some benefits that specifically impact mental health care and treatment. These benefits are an expansion of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which required insurance providers to treat mental health/substance abuse issues as equal to physical illnesses or disorders. While all of the specifics aren’t known yet, below are some of the changes that will occur in regards to mental health:
  • There will be increased coverage for mental health services. About20%  of people who currently have insurance receive no benefits for treatment of mental illnesses. Treatment, certain prevention services and screening for mental health issues (including substance abuse) will also be covered under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Those who are uninsured or underinsured are now able to get coverage. Mental health issues or disorders have previously been a barrier to receiving or affording coverage, as it could be considered a pre-existing condition. After the Affordable Care Act takes effect, pre-existing conditions can no longer factor in availability or cost of coverage.
  • Funding for mental health services and centers will increase. The Affordable Care act also mandates that funding for community mental health centers will increase by $11 billion over the next five years, which includes expanding both preventative and behavioral health services. A portion of this funding will also be dedicated to renovation of existing community health centers or the construction of new centers.
  • People will now have the opportunity to designate “health homes”. Those who are eligible for Medicaid will be able to assign health homes, which are medical homes for people who have a serious, chronic condition that may require extended care. The goal of these health homes is to integrate all aspects of a person’s care in a way that promotes comprehensive wellness.

Uninsured?

Those who are uninsured will be required to purchase insurance, or face a penalty per the individual mandate. Subsidies will be in place to help people afford this insurance if they are unable to. However, there are exemptions to the penalty in certain situations such as inability to afford the premium or religious objection.

Immigrant or Undocumented?

According to the National Immigration Law Center, lawfully present immigrants will have restricted or limited benefits, while undocumented immigrants will receive no benefits. A full list of coverage information for each group is available here.

How to sign up

You can visit the official marketplace website at Healthcare.gov, or click here to find the marketplace website for your state. The marketplace enrollment dates are from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Those who enroll by December 15, 2013 will have coverage effective January 1, 2014.

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Insurance was originally published on NoStigmas.org | Redefining Mental Health

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Seal of Transparency
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