This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. On Capitol Hill, NAMI moderated a congressional briefing on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) programs for youth and young adults. U.S. Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) who co-chair the House Mental Health Caucus spoke about the need for early identification and intervention. View the briefing.
Millions of children in our nation live with mental health conditions. Most are not identified and do not receive mental health services and supports. This often has dire consequences including school drop-out and failure, involvement with law enforcement and suicide.
The concept of social change is very vast and subjective. A small change can even bring a big impact to the society as a whole whereas a big change in a small group may be significant on the stage of that particular group; however it may be insignificant on the larger society.
Responsibility of XAS Consulting, LLC founded by Xiomara A. Sosa in promoting social change through its XAS Advocacy Network Series (ANS)
For Immediate Release
Announcing the Official Launch of XAS & My VoiceTv Online Social Change Network Campaign
The campaign will focus on issues related to veterans’ health and human services and on issues related to mental health and physical health for families, children and communities. The campaign is comprised of My VoiceTv and XAS Consulting, LLC and will feature social change initiatives launched through You Are Strong! Center on Veterans Health and Human Services and The Get-Right! Organization, Inc., social change nonprofit organizations spearheaded through XAS Consulting, LLC lead by its Founder and Principal Xiomara A. Sosa. Xiomara is thrilled to work with My VoiceTv in promoting content related to veterans’ health via its Military Unit Group and family and community health through its Health and Fitness Group.
This unique social network venture combines the efforts of You Are Strong! And Get-Right! with My VoiceTv’s social network platform to enhance positive social change in communities and society as a whole. This powerful collaboration’s goal is to reach out to more people and communities together and effect positive social change on the community level. My VoiceTv will strengthen the voices of the military and veterans community and the health and fitness community to educate and create more awareness on the issues affecting them.
My VoiceTv is a comprehensive online campaign that highlights current projects providing mental health, physical health, and human services resources and information to improve the wellbeing of the military and veteran communities as well as families addressing health and fitness. My VoiceTv will feature these issues on the social network platform with Get-Right! and You Are Strong! as its source of current and relevant information.
In addition, the campaign will provide videos and interviews of people who are making positive social change in these communities such as activists, advocates, teachers, law enforcement officers and other humanitarian workers. My VoiceTv will spearhead, produce and air special features and images advertising links on its blog and social network websites as well as on the You Are Strong! and Get-Right! websites about current and future social change projects. This new social network contains groups dedicated to different elements of social life.
Its launch serves to attract a larger membership for My VoiceTv and to better feature and highlight the projects that advocate for veterans health and human services issues and mental and physical health issues for families, children and communities. The two groups on My VoiceTv highlighting this work are the Military Unit and the Health and Fitness groups which serve as a tool to spread social change and promote better health awareness for these communities.
“Given the magnitude of the current need that our military and veteran communities currently face, it is imperative that we support this unique online social change network. My VoiceTv campaign will help ensure that our true heroes get the information and support they deserve for their visible and invisible wounds. In addition, our families, children and communities will also benefit from current and relevant health information they need”, said Xiomara A. Sosa, Founder of You Are Strong! and Get-Right! working with Jason Diaz, CEO of My VoiceTv to manage the campaign.
Second story in a series
The mentally ill are under scrutiny and pressure like never before. Mental health budgets have been slashed. Inpatient beds are at historic lows. Emergency rooms and jails are the new front lines of care. And gun-control debates are focused on the mentally ill.
But there is promise for change. State funding may increase. Research shows these illnesses are based in flawed physiology, not character flaws. And many who suffer are challenging stigmas.
The Post and Courier will examine these issues in a series of stories over the coming months. In this installment we look at involuntary commitments, which are at the heart of state gun-control legislation.
Perhaps the hardest part is that her son once was such a normal boy, a Mount Pleasant kid with loving parents, extended family and a life full of friends and dreams. But at 17, Jack Youngs’ thoughts turned down a disturbing new path.
President Obama released his budget proposal on April 10. With it came good news and not so good news. The good news is that the President’s proposal overall includes a new $130 million initiative for expanding mental health services that would include counselor positions. The President’s budget also requests $7 billion to expand mental health care for veterans, which represents a $469 million increase from the previous year. Some bad news is that the school counseling program, Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP), was zeroed out once again and the money is proposed to be spent under a new program called Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students. ACA is disappointed to see the Administration and the Department of Education decide to no longer request funding for a program that has demonstrated great success and high demand as seen by the number of applicants each time a call for grant proposals is made. Why is this bad if funding has been increased in new and different mental health proposals by the President? The reality of our politically-polarized Congress could cause Republicans to claim common ground with the Administration by agreeing to save money on programs that were cut in the President’s proposal. Republican offices have also told us that they are not interested in approving any new programs that will cost money. Therefore, school counselors could lose all specified federal funding that has been critical to hundreds of school counseling programs. ACA needs school counselors who have received ESSCP grants and school counselors who have successful intervention data to share their stories with their federal Congress members (and us!).
There have been some promising pieces of mental health legislation moving through the Senate recently. Two bills, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, S. 264, and the Mental Health and Improvement Act (S. 689) may be proposed as amendments to the gun violence legislation that the Senate is believed to be voting on this week. S. 689 was recently passed out of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee after pulling together the language in a strong, bipartisan fashion. Read Chairman Harkin’s press release here. Any legislation that may pass in the Senate will still need to be passed by the House of Representatives. Please continue to share your stories with Congress of how mental health services make a difference in your community, along with the grave need for increased resources.
You can communicate easily with Congress by going to our website.
American Mental Health Counselors Association .
The only organization working exclusively for mental health counselors.
Obamacare Mental Health Benefit Extended to 62 Million Americans
February 22, 2013 – Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on Wednesday final rule for the Accountable Care Act that will make purchasing health coverage easier for consumers. The policies give consumers a consistent way to compare and enroll in health coverage in the individual and small group markets. The rule outlines health insurance issuer standards for a core package of benefits, called “Essential Health Benefits,” which health insurance issuers must cover both inside and outside the health insurance “Exchanges.” The standards for essential health benefits greatly expand the availability of coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services. HHS projects the rules will eventually expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections to 62 million more Americans. For more information on the rule, see: Essential Health Benefit Rule The Obamacare statute does not enumerate detailed benefit levels, but requires that all plans covering essential health benefits include mental health and substance use disorder benefits with services at parity levels. Until Obamacare, nearly 20 percent of individuals purchasing insurance have not had access to mental health services, and nearly one third have no coverage for substance use disorder services. The new rule will bridge this huge gap by expanding benefits coverage in three ways: Mental health and substance use disorder benefits are included as Essential Health Benefits Federal parity protections are applied to mental health and substance use disorder benefits in the individual and small group markets Mandated parity for mental health and substance use disorder benefits in the individual and small group market will expand benefits availability to 62 million more Americans All states have been given the opportunity to define essential health benefits in a way that would best meet the needs of their residents. Most have elected to establish their own benchmark-based plan approach, including selecting a benchmark plan from options offered in their current state market. Benchmark plan benefits must be equal in scope to a typical employer plan. Twenty-six states have already selected a benchmark plan for their state, and the largest small business plan in each state will be the benchmark for the rest. States that decline this option will have their benchmark plan defined by the federal government. More information on health care reform and the state “Exchanges” or “Marketplaces” may be viewed here: Health Insurance Marketplaces For more information, contact James K. Finley AMHCA Associate Executive Director/Director of Public Policy 800-326-2642 x105 or email@example.com The mission of the American Mental Health Counselors Association is to enhance the profession of mental health counseling through licensing, advocacy, education and professional development.
By Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health
Media inquiries to Meena Dayak at MeenaD@thenationalcouncil.org or 301.602.8474
“As part of his recommendations to protect our communities from gun violence, President Obama today rightly called for Mental Health First Aid training to help teachers and staff recognize the signs of mental health disorders in young people and find them appropriate care. “The youth version of Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based training program to help citizens identify mental health problems in young people, connect youth with care, and safely deescalate crisis situations if needed. The program, focusing on youth ages 12 to 25, provides an ideal forum to engage communities in discussing the signs and symptoms of mental illness, the prevalence of mental health disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and how to engage troubled young people in services.
“This groundbreaking training is critical for anyone who spends time with young people. The first onset of severe mental illness typically occurs in the late teens or early twenties. The symptoms of severe mental illness often emerge slowly over this period and can be difficult to detect without basic information on what to look for. Even when friends and family of someone who appears to be developing mental illness can tell that something is amiss, they may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment — which means that all too often, those in need of mental health services do not get them until it is too late. Research shows that the sooner people get help for mental health disorders, the more likely they are to have positive outcomes.
“The adult Mental Health First Aid program has already been delivered to nearly 100,000 Americans through a network of more than 2,500 instructors. “We, of course, understand that no amount of training can guarantee horrific acts won’t occur, but being comfortable with openly talking about mental illness and engaging young adults and their families can increase the likelihood we may be able to help and intervene early. “We are grateful to Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) who will shortly reintroduce Mental Health First Aid legislation in Congress to implement the President’s recommendations. “We also encourage President Obama and Congress to consider other National Council policy proposals which will dramatically increase our nation’s ability to provide timely, high-quality mental health and addictions services to people in need. The proposals may be found on our web site at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.”
The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 member organizations, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 80,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care and treatment in their communities. More at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
This week’s Latina Spotlight is on Xiomara A. Sosa, mental health professional, mental health advocate and founder of the National Hispanic Mental Health Professionals Advocacy Network. As a Latina, a veteran and a mental health professional, Xiomara has dedicated her career to ensuring that often underserved populations, such as the Latino community and U.S. veterans, receive the mental health information and care that they deserve. New Latina has partnered with Xiomara and the National Hispanic Mental Health Professionals Advocacy Network to promote education, awareness and advocacy for the mental health services needs of U.S. Hispanic communities. We are so very proud to share Xiomara’s story with you all and we encourage you to learn more about the National Hispanic Mental Health Professionals Advocacy Network.