December 31, 2015

By Luna Greenstein

In 2015, NAMI helped shape the national conversation on mental health across the country. On both a local and national level, NAMI influenced mental health policy, the understanding of mental illness and showed the power that education and peer support can have for people living with mental health conditions. Here is a look back at some of the articles where NAMI played a part.

Mental Health Advocates Rally Behind New Bill

This article from US News & World Report talks about Rep. Tim Murphy’s Helping Families with Mental Health Crisis Act. NAMI is cited with an important stat that relays the problem of mental health funding seems to only increase in response to violent shootings.

Does Your Boss Have a Right to Know if You're Mentally Ill?

In the aftermath of the Germanwings tragedy, our National Policy Director, Ron Honberg makes an excellent point about mental health in the workplace in this Bloomberg article: “We could be trying to create an environment that’s more knowledgeable and accepting of mental health conditions and doesn’t cause people to be ostracized if they admit to it.” The article discusses the dangerous territory of workers feeling that they have to hide their mental health conditions.

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

NPR addresses the critical topic of mental health parity within insurance plans, especially as it pertains to substance abuse. They emphasize this problem using a quote from the NAMI Report, A Long Road Ahead: “health insurance plans are falling short in coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions.”

Changing the way police respond to mental illness

Combining both a personal narrative and important facts about police response to people who live with mental health conditions, this article dives into the topic about the necessity for mental health training for police officers. Our Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Program Manager, Laura Usher, provided CNN with invaluable information, including that only 15% of police jurisdictions nationwide have operating CIT programs.

How to Maximize Mental Health Coverage

For people who struggle to get the amount of mental health coverage that they need, US News & World Report discussed how to help maximize coverage. They spoke Angela Kimball, NAMI Associate Director of Policy and Sita Diehl, Director of State Policy and Advocacy. Diehl suggests telemental health as a viable option that is covered by most health care plans.

Groups call on Congress to reform mental health system

“We need to get something meaningful passed this year. We'll never have a better chance at reform because both the Republicans and Democrats agree that significant improvements to mental health care are needed,” said Ron Honberg in this USA Today article about a call for mental health reform.

A Game Changer for Mental Health

Our executive director, Mary Giliberti, wrote this article for US News & World Report about the critical topic of early identification and intervention of psychosis. She writes, “What works is care that is tailored to each young person's needs and that supports their ability to get better, be successful at school and work and achieve their dreams … Hope is the cornerstone of this model of care.”

Carolyn Hax: Find the happy medium with a mentally ill family member

This Washington Post article provides suggestions for those who have a family member living with a mental health condition. One of the suggestions is to attend the NAMI Family-to-Family course that is intended to improve the ability to cope when trying to help someone close to you who lives with a mental health condition.

It’s been a successful year at NAMI of promoting our education, awareness and advocacy through these news outlets. This type of exposure is an important aspect of building our movement and making change happen. 

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