Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’


6.17.09 National Call-in Day to Include Addiction and Mental Health Services in Healthcare Reform

June 17, 2009

Those in the substance abuse and mental health fields are encouraging people to call their legislators today to make sure that addiction and mental illness prevention, treatment and recovery are included in any healthcare reform considered by Congress and the Obama Administration.

If you’d like to participate, visit the Faces and Voices of Recovery Action Alert page. Type in your zip code to find your local legislators’ contact information.

The CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) also sent out an email with this suggested message to leave:

“I am calling to urge you to ensure that addiction and mental illness prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery are fully and equitably included in healthcare reform. Research confirms that substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses are chronic diseases for which prevention and treatment are effective. Specifically, please include substance use/abuse prevention on par with nutrition, smoking and tobacco cessation issues within any health and wellness funds authorized in healthcare reform legislation.”

According to the CADCA, momentum for healthcare reform is building. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee recently released a draft of its bill, and both the Senate Finance Committee and the Committees of jurisdiction in the House (Ways and Means, Education and Labor, and Energy and Commerce) are expected to release their drafts of healthcare reform legislation this week.

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Study Shows Girl Talk Can Reduce Anxiety and Stress

June 17, 2009

2 womenCrossroads for Women often talks about using a relational model when treating clients for mental health and substance abuse issues. This model is different from a traditional substance abuse model that is more confrontational (think intervention) and largely designed for and by men. Being women-focused for almost 35 years, we’ve found (and other studies back this up) that women tend to open up more and feel more comfortable in women-only groups. A new study coming out of University of Michigan seems to back this up.

According to the study, published in the June 2009 journal Hormones and Behavior, feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress. Thus, “girl talk” may actually improve our mental health.

The study looked at the link between progesterone, a sex hormone that fluctuates with the menstrual cycle and is also present in low levels in men and post-menopausal women, and interpersonal closeness. Researchers found that progesterone levels of women who had engaged in emotionally neutral tasks together tended to decline, while the progesterone levels of women who engaged in activities designed to elicit feelings of closeness either increased or remained the same. After the participants returned a week late to complete the same tasks, it was found that higher progesterone levels actually predicted an increased willingness for participants to say they would risk their life to help their partner.

According to Univerity of Michigan researcher Stephanie Brown, “Many of the hormones involved in bonding and helping behavior lead to reductions in stress and anxiety in both humans and other animals. Now we see that higher levels of progesterone may be part of the underlying physiological basis for these effects.”

So, keep talking and bonding women! It’s good for your health.

Read more: Feeling Close To A Friend Increases Progesterone, Boosts Well-being And Reduces Anxiety And Stress

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Mental Health and Addiction Parity Finally a Reality

October 6, 2008

As you probably know by now, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 263-171 to approve the Wall Street bailout bill on Friday, a few days after the Senate approved the new bailout measure 74-25. President George Bush swiftly signed the bill into law. Attached to the bill was the mental health/addiction parity bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.). The Senate parity bill was sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). A previous bill, rejected by the House, that also called for a $700-billion bailout of the financial system did not include the parity provision.

The parity bill is now known as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Many addiction and mental health advocacy groups worked hard to educate people and legislators about the bill and build grassroots support to ultimately pass it.

So what will this parity bill mean to all of us? According to Rep. Kennedy, “This legislation is one more step in the long civil-rights struggle to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to reach their potential. For far too long, health insurance companies have used the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse as an excuse to deny coverage for those biological disorders. That ends today when this critical legislation outlaws the discrimination that is embedded in our laws and our policies.” Sen. Domenici commented, “No longer will we allow mental health to be treated as a stepchild in the healthcare system.”

While the parity bill does not require health insurance plans to cover addiction or mental health, insurers will now be barred from imposing any caps or limits on behavioral healthcare service that are not applied to other health conditions. Essentially, addiction and mental health benefits will be treated the same as any medical or surgical benefit.

Read more about the passing of the parity bill and the long road to get there on
Congress, Bush Approve Addiction and Mental Health Parity Legislation

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Call your legislators today (9.10.08) to end insurance discrimination

September 10, 2008

Advocates around the country are asking people to call their US Senators and Representatives today and tell them to “pass the mental health and substance abuse parity legislation before Congress adjourns.” This long overdue bill requires health insurers to provide the same coverage for substance abuse and mental health issues as they do for any physical illness.

Take Action and Call Your Representatives Today!


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