Mental Health of the Nation January 2011

Mental Health of the Nation January 2011 As the Nation mourns and recovers from the losses in Tucson AZ, it is important to understand the lessons that were uncovered for us as individuals and as a Nation to learn.  On the CBS Face the Nation talk show on Sunday January 16, 2011, the moderator Bob Shieffer interviewed Ex-Mayor -N.Y.C. Mayor Giuliani. Truthfully Giuliani hit all the high notes with eloquence as he discussed the need for a Mental Health Care Overall to our medical health care systems. Giuliani suggested that mental health was the main culprit behind the Tucson Tragedy on January 8, 2011. Perhaps what Jared Lee Loughner did for and [to] the Nation was to capture the attention of our leadership to look at the true issue that underlies this enormous tragedy.;contentAux I think we forgot the people who have tried in the past to help the Mental Health system in this country. Mental illness is a common fact of life, yet we hide it in the corner due to the shame and humility that shadows mental health. What is remarkable is that we would never leave a broken bone untreated yet we leave mental health untreated due to the stigma.  The rhetoric was tough when the news first broke about the Tucson Tragedy, and everyone wants to label Jared Lee Loughner as a ‘psycho-with-a-gun’, and yes we need a ‘bad’ guy to blame for our human failings. As hard it is to hear, Loughner may now get the help he needed and was crying out for behind the four walls of a prison cell. Yes, and he was mentally unstable to make the decision he made. At the same time we can’t paint everyone with the same brush [label] and assume they will kill someone because they have a form of a mental illness. Bless people like Tipper Gore who worked tirelessly before and during the Clinton-Gore Administration years of 1993-2000 to elevate the need for a focus on our Mental Health system. Mrs. Gore, First Lady during the Clinton-Gore Administration worked as a Mental Health Policy Advisor to President Clinton. “Mrs. Gore is committed to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and educating Americans about the need for quality, affordable  mental health care. In June of 1999, Mrs. Gore chaired the first ever White House Conference on Mental Health that addressed stigma, discrimination and parity in mental health care.” The Clinton-Gore Administration Signed Mental Health Parity Provisions into Law. “Signed Mental Health Parity Provisions into Law. To help eliminate discrimination against individuals with mental illnesses, the  President signed into law mental health parity provisions that prohibit health plans from establishing separate lifetime and annual limits for mental health coverage. In 1999, the White House held the first-ever Conference on Mental Health and released the Surgeon General’s first Report on Mental Health. This year, the President’s budget includes an investment of $100 million for mental health services, a 90 percent increase since 1993 levels. [FY 2001 Budget, p. 246].” As congress goes back to work this week to review the Health Care Reform Act of the Obama Administration, they truly need to go back to the work that was done during the Clinton-Gore years by Mrs. Tipper Gore and others and allocate the proper funding to this broken health and mental health care system. We can prevent tragedies like what happened in Tucson by answering the cry for help in the form it comes in…rather than ignore it and hope it will go away. Hope is not a strategy.

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.