It was 2008 when legislation to create parity between behavioral/mental health services and all other health services was signed into law. In 2009 the HITECT Act was signed, setting in motion all of the information technology changes necessary to support a health care system in sync with the digital age. One should have guessed, however that IT advances in behavioral/mental health would not keep pace with those made in the other medical disciplines. While facilities can receive incentive payments for the adoption of health information technology for the psychiatrists and nurse practitioners on staff, for most facilities the provider mix is far more complex including social workers (both at the MSW/CSW and doctorate level) as well as clinical psychologists (both PhD or PsyD) and they are as integral to care delivery as the MDs and NPs.
What inspired Kathleen in this endeavor? She explains, “I feel like there are a lot of people living their life in a full and useful way but nobody knows about it”. These are the people “I want to support and feature.” Dr. Hoffman seeks out these individuals to give them more visibility. “[Helping] others shine is rewarding,” she continues. Having featured health luminaries such as Andre Blackman, a leading voice for health and innovation and Katherine Leon, a passionate patient advocate for SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) early in the history of the chat and relatively early in the career trajectories of these advocates illustrates just how keen Hoffman’s eye is for talent. The chat has also feature entrepreneurs like Victor Wang, inventor of GeriJoy, a therapeutic tool in the form of a virtual dog that talks back to its owners and the founders of Medivizor, the physician-founded medical information platform.
This weekend the Out of the Darkness Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will occur from June 1-2 to raise awareness and funds for suicide research and prevention. One June 3rd the President will convene a Mental Health Forum to follow-up on much the the initiatives for early identification and improved access to treatments proposed in his The Time Is Now gun violence prevention program. The problems of suicide and the depression that cause it are all too real. In the United States alone someone dies by suicide every 13 minutes.