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.
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.
Lizabeth Schuch is a thoughtful and engaging woman with whom I’ve become acquainted over the past few years. We met just as I was embarking upon my current journey in patient advocacy within the greater Washington, DC community. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17, Lizabeth went on to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and a minor in psychology. She recently left the storied life of pharmaceutical sales to pursue her passion as an advocate full-time. Her professional and personal experiences make her especially qualified for her new role. I was happy to take the opportunity to talk with Lizabeth about mental illness and her work.
“There is a lot of resiliency with these illnesses, I don’t know that people acknowledge how hard we have to work. We are fighting a battle!” Lizabeth Schuch
Anger is a natural aspect of grief, loss and mourning but when you are a homicide survivor (or someone who has lost a loved one to murder) anger takes on added characteristics. Literature on anger underscores the importance of identifying your anger and then finding healthy ways to channel that anger so that it doesn’t ultimately destroy you—psychologically or physically. Since the death of my brother, I have become intimately familiar with anger. I’ve come to know it in ways I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
GOT THE BLUES? OR IS IT DEPRESSION? Ever feel like you are the only one who is sad in a world of happy people? Everyone experiences stress, sadness and anxiety from time to time – it’s part of life. These feelings often happen when you a lose a job, children move away from home, during divorce, with a death in the family, or during retirement. But when changes in mood and behavior interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities, it could be a sign of depression.