Mental illness doesn't just strike an individual. It strikes a family.

Author: Jessica W. Hart - 2/25/2016

This week, NAMI is focusing on how mental health reform bills in Congress support mental health caregivers.

8.4 million people care for an adult living with mental illness. Mental health caregivers serve an important role in their loved one’s recovery, yet 1 in 4 caregivers has difficulty finding basic mental health services. And when caregivers find services, over half report being told that their loved one’s provider was unable to speak with them.

The Senate and House versions of comprehensive mental health care reform bills recognize that misinterpretation of HIPAA, a privacy law, by health professionals has contributed to caregivers being unnecessarily shut out of care conversations.

Thank your members of Congress for requiring training on HIPAA, but let them know that NAMI wants more support for mental health caregivers.

Ask your members of Congress to support a National Mental Health Caregiver Support Program. This program would offer grants to states and territories to provide:

  • Information to families and family caregivers about mental health services and supports.
  • Assistance to families and family caregivers in navigating mental health systems and accessing services and supports.
  • Family and family caregiver psychoeducation.
  • Peer-led family and family caregiver support groups.

Reach out to Congress today. Tell them that mental health caregivers play a vital role and deserve support.