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May is Mental Health Month…So What…? 13 things to know about Mental Health and Medicaid this May

John Tote, Vice President of Behavioral Health Solutions

 

  1. May 2018, just like dozens of Mays before, is celebrating and commemorating the 31 days of May as Mental Health Month. So What…?
  2. Millions of people across the United States-indeed, throughout the world-experience mental illness. So What…?
  3. The prevalence rate for mental illness is more than other major health issues combined such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. So What…?
  4. Mental illness is extremely treatable and, in many cases, preventable-yet we see prevention and treatment funded by governing bodies and others at rates many times less than other major health issues. So What…?
  5. Mental illness serves as a major driver of emergency and other hospital costs because of poor community care-often an astounding lack of integrated care that serves the whole person causing mental illness and other health issues to go un or under-treated. So What…?
  6. While the stigma surrounding mental illness has been reduced somewhat…it still is extremely high and totally unwarranted. So What…?
  7. The general term for mental health treatment in the broader healthcare arena is ‘behavioral’ health care-relegating a significant, though treatable, disease to a self-inflicted character flaw. So What…?
  8. Often times this insidious disease strikes young people as they are just beginning the crucial transition of life from adolescence to adulthood…often times seeing their parents and others in their care and support network aging and preparing for their retirement-leaving hopes and dreams to be re-spun and resources recalibrated. So What…?
  9. People with mental illness are often portrayed in the media-both on commercial shows and so-called journalistic programs-as always being violent, unstable, and untrustworthy…when the reality is individuals living with mental illness are up to 19 times (times, not percent!) more likely to have violence perpetrated against them rather than they themselves being violent in some way. So What…?
  10. Though resources and training are widely available, law enforcement rarely takes the time to understand this condition, which is not a criminal offense, but an illness, and could save millions of dollars and significant trauma for the communities they serve around the country. So What…?
  11. Living with mental illness is simply one aspect of a person’s life…they may be athletic, artistic, a computer whiz, a gardener, a wine connoisseur, and much more…but often, it is their illness that society focuses on to the detriment of all. So What…?
  12. Significant gains have been made in the treatment of individuals with mental illness…in many cases more advancement in the treatment and the technology of treatment of mental illness have been achieved than many other major health areas combined-but somehow that information gets little play and air time. So What…?
  13. Mental illness is a terrible health condition…but one that is treatable and, again, often preventable…treatment works and hope is real. So What…?

The question posed throughout is one worth asking based on all the highlighted features of mental illness in this May is Mental Health Month Mostly Medicaid note…  So What…?
We all must answer this question…during this month and beyond…

However, what we truly must do is fill in the rest of the question…and in reality, number 14 on our list…

So What do I do now that I know?

Mostly Medicaid is proud to celebrate May as Mental Health Month and proud to stand with the men, women, and children and their families experiencing a mental health condition.  We’re here with you and for you…and we’re here for those of you in a provider or payer agency struggling with mental health and Medicaid issues…call anytime, we would love to help!

Let’s work together to answer that question for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities…

Let’s truly celebrate May as Mental Health Month in 2018 and make a difference in someone’s life…perhaps even our own.

Until next time, all the best and much Peace-John Tote