Priority: Parity

by Patricia Obletz, Editor

Given the state of our nation and the world, mental health must become a priority health service. Because mental illnesses run in every family (about 1 in 4 people, according to National Institute of Mental Health), one would think that there would be no shame or fear attached to these human conditions. But as we know, if the Mental Health Parity Act hadn’t been attached to the first bailout bill in 2008, it wouldn’t have become law.

Stigma won’t step down until this law is put into practice, not only at the medical services level, but also throughout public education in schools and community centers across the country. Physical illnesses and other adversities become manageable when our mental health is good. I know this fact to be true through personal experience, as well as through studying decades of hard medical research data.

I know also from experience that an unsettled mind sets up barriers to personal and professional productivity. I, like most people, knew nothing about what mental health is and is not, until after I lost my mind. My recovery took nine years because of my original ignorance. This is why I became an activist working professionally and as a volunteer to raise awareness on mental health. In-person, written and televised first-person stories with ordinary people who know what helps and what hinders illnesses that strike the spirit first are key to overcoming obstacles. AA proved this truth last century. Consumer confidence is another term for spiritual peace.

President-elect Barack Obama shows the world what rock-solid sanity is throughout his campaign under vicious attacks and now dealing with extreme global crises. We have to put our money where our mind is. This means that parents and students of all ages need to accept the facts of mental health issues and learn about symptoms and the wide range of treatment options available between traditional medical and alternative health services. Mental illnesses are treatable and the time to treat them this way is now.
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Last edited by patricia obletz. Based on work by Tyler Schuster.  Page last modified on July 12, 2011

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