May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, LookUp, along with many other organizations and individuals, is raising awareness by fighting stigma, providing support, education, and advocacy for mental health. Each week, we’ll share mental health insights from various community sectors.
This week, Erin Tock, Manager of Advocacy & Inclusion for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), share the importance of support groups and other resources on the road to mental health. Indiana Senator Randall Head explains some recent legislation supporting improved pathways to mental health help.
In 1979, two mothers sat at a kitchen table in Wisconsin cursing the lack of support for their sons living with schizophrenia. Their sons were being blamed for their diagnoses. They found that in addition to the agony of serious mental illness, they were facing isolation. Frustrated and determined that there were others going through the same thing, they held a public meeting, the attendance of which far exceeded expectations. That group went on to become NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. There are now countless NAMI affiliates committed to that original idea: that a community exists for individuals and loved ones struggling with the agony of mental illness.
With that vision, NAMI Indiana’s local affiliates provide support groups throughout the state. The two types of support groups – one for individuals and one for family & friends – are not led by professionals, but by volunteers who have lived it themselves. The safe and confidential setting is designed to offer empathy, productive discussion, and that sense of community that so many of us feel does not exist.
When the first-ever Surgeon General report on mental illness was released in 2000, the mental health community was not surprised to hear that the salient reason people do not seek help for their mental health conditions is stigma. How much has changed in the last 18 years? Not enough. Stigma is still so prevalent that it prevents us from not just seeking treatment, but speaking out and normalizing this experience. NAMI, NAMI Indiana, and our local affiliates form a community that is fighting stigma and supporting Hoosiers with mental health conditions. Learn more and find support at www.namiindiana.org.
– Erin Tock, Manager of Advocacy & Inclusion for National Alliance on Mental Illness
In 2018, NAMI will promote the theme of “CureStigma” throughout all awareness events, including Mental Health Month. There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma. Get tested at www.CureStigma.org
Remember, you can find a support group near you in LookUp’s Find Help tab.
As co-chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force, my team and I have crafted numerous bills that meet the needs and wants of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children. Our goal is to find solutions to complex problems that substance abuse and mental illness cause Hoosier children. Last year, the Task Force helped pass a suicide prevention bill, and during the 2018 session, we helped pass three additional bills – Senate Enrolled Act 223, Senate Enrolled Act 224 and Senate Enrolled Act 225.
SEA 223 requires specified licensed health practitioners to provide information regarding their work, including what services they provide, location of their practice and whether they accept Medicaid patients. This information will be collected by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency and posted on its website for use by legislators, the Department of Workforce Development and the Office of the Attorney General.
SEA 224 reduces the number of required hours clinical social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and addiction counselors need to receive a license and allows 50 percent of their required supervised hours to be completed through virtual supervision. SEA 224 also reduces the number of face-to-face client hours marriage and family therapists must complete. Through this legislation, we meet the standards of surrounding states and encourage Hoosier students and post-graduates to stay in Indiana for higher education and work.
Finally, SEA 225 mandates that health care practitioners who apply for a controlled substance registration complete two hours of continued opioid prescribing and opioid abuse education when they renew their licenses (every two years). U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks based her recent legislation off of SEA 225.
During this month, we urge everyone to learn more about mental illness and addiction and simply reach out to a friend, neighbor, or family member who may need some support and help.
In May, and every month, let us ring out hope as we continue to fight for victory over mental illness and addiction. Be sure to check back for each week’s new blog for National Mental Health Awareness month, visit our blog page on LookUpIndiana.org.
Help us Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma.