By Tai of Allsup
I am privileged to work with a variety of mental health organizations as manager of Strategic Alliances at Allsup. Mental illness is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and mental disorders are the primary diagnoses for about one-third of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients.
Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and Mental Health America provide support and resources to many of the former workers Allsup represents for Social Security disability benefits.
Last week, these and 11 other national advocacy organizations participated in the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day. The event brings hundreds of providers, administrators, board members, consumers and community stakeholders to Washington, D.C., for a day of workshops on federal behavioral health policy. The next day, participants arrive on Capitol Hill to meet with their elected officials and advocate for mental health legislation.
Participants from every walk of life shared their stories to illustrate the need for accessible, quality, comprehensive mental health treatment; convey the importance of eliminating stigma, and provide proof that treatment works.
One social service provider spoke of her sadness when a semi-nude woman with a mental illness was laughed at and videotaped in a parking lot, instead of being shown compassion.
“If she was having a heart attack, people would not have reacted that way,” she said. “They would be trying to help, asking if anyone knew CPR and calling for an ambulance.” Just like the heart, the brain is part of the body.
People living with chronic illness and disability may understand this better than most, as they often experience depression and other mental disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if not effectively treated, depression is likely to become a chronic disease. Just experiencing one episode of depression places an individual at a 50 percent risk for experiencing another episode, and increases the chances of having more depression episodes. This adversely affects the course and complicates the treatment of chronic disease.
Mental Health Web Event Is Thursday
“Claiming Power to Improve Your Mental Health,” is an Allsup True Help® Web Event for individuals living with chronic illness and disability.
Please register here and join me June 16, noon CST. Experts on mental health, chronic illness, disability employment and digital imagery will share information and resources that can enhance your mental wellness.
Please help share this event, which can be found at Webinar.Allsup.com or http://bit.ly/MentalHealthPower.
One of the most powerful aspects of Hill Day 2016 was the collaboration that took place among so many different organizations. I look forward to including you in Allsup’s latest collaboration promoting mental health.