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MHA's Blog: Chiming In

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Posted: March 10, 2016

By:  Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a draft of mental health reform legislation this week and invited comments from advocates.  The committee plans to take it up on March 16. The draft does not follow the structure of either S. 1945 or H.R. 2646, but takes an entirely different approach.  For example, it does not include a new Assistant Secretary, relying instead on the current Assistant...

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Posted: February 19, 2016

by Casey Dillon, Advocacy Associate February 19th, 2016 marks Mental Health America's 107th birthday! To celebrate, we asked our network to share reasons to celebrate MHA, its history, and its affiliates. Here’s what they had to say:  MHA National is (to my knowledge) the first organization to be founded by a person who openly acknowledged his lived experience of mental illness (Clifford Beers). Mental Health America's focus on early intervention is a great example of how the...

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Posted: February 16, 2016

By: Paul Gionfiddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America We don’t usually use this blog to review books. A Mother’s Reckoning was for me — as it will be for many people — a difficult book to read. It speaks to an incredibly raw and relevant topic. A Mother’s Reckoning was written by Sue Klebold. Sue’s son Dylan died by suicide in 1999, and she writes of her pain in his passing. But Sue’s pain is different and more intense than most. This is because before he died by suicide, Dylan and...

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Posted: January 28, 2016

By Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO; Theresa Nguyen, Senior Director of Policy and Programming; and Nathaniel Counts, Director of Policy Mental Health America’s campaign for ubiquitous mental health screening picked up more momentum this week, as yet another major national organization recommended widespread mental health screening. This week’s support comes from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an expert panel of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The...

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Posted: January 11, 2016

By: Nathaniel Z. Counts, J.D., Director of Policy, Mental Health America, and Aaron Konopasky, J.D., Ph.D., Senior Attorney-Advisor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission At Mental Health America (MHA), we work to make sure people can get help Before Stage 4. When we think of cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat people. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan to treat and support the person. We need to do the same with mental...

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Posted: January 5, 2016

By: Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO This week, the President announced a number of initiatives aimed at reducing violence in America.  Two of them specifically touched on mental health/mental illness.  The first was an announcement that the Administration was proposing the expenditure of $500 million for mental health services.  There were no details about how those dollars might be spent and so we will address that later.  The second was an announcement about changes to...

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Posted: December 16, 2015

By Casey Dillon, Advocacy Associate This year was really big for Mental Health America! Take a look at what made 2015 so successful. 1.      #B4Stage4 This year, all of MHA’s messaging focused around our #B4Stage4 philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach a crisis stage.   2.      Green Tutus Did you know that lime green is the color for mental health awareness? Our green tutus are always...

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Posted: November 13, 2015

By: Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA I’ve now been at this job for about a year and a half, but I have to say, the last couple months has been the highlight to date. Because MHA and mental health advocates are at a pivotal moment. We could very well see major mental health reform—and for the first time in years there has been real, tangible progress on Capitol Hill. But not everyone in the mental health community has been supportive of the current legislation before Congress. There are...

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Posted: October 6, 2015

by Kelly Davis, Policy and Programming Associate A big word in mental health right now is ‘stigma,’ but many advocates and consumers do not think this is the correct word to use in the context of mental health. Stigma campaigns focus on raising awareness to remove individual blame from mental health disorders, increase help seeking behavior, and show just how common these disorders are. Critics of the campaigns come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs but almost all agree that stigma is...

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Posted: September 22, 2015

By Casey Dillon, Advocacy Associate Halloween costumes are meant to be scary or funny, but costumes such as “Gone Mental” that caricature individuals in psychiatric hospitals are neither. They are offensive and harmful. Individuals living with mental health conditions are not costume characters. Mental health conditions do not make someone a serial killer, covered in blood and dirt with ripped clothing. Costumes like “Gone Mental,” “Happy Hill Asylum,” and “Psycho Ward” contribute only to...

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Posted: August 4, 2015

By Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have now introduced the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015. While Mental Health America has not yet formally endorsed it or its House counterpart, we consider it another important step toward making comprehensive mental health reform a reality in America. It builds on H.R. 2646, the Murphy-Johnson proposal introduced two months ago in the House, incorporating many of the provisions that Mental Health...

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Posted: July 21, 2015

By Kelly Davis, MHA Policy and Programming Associate After reading this Washington Post article about Alfred Postell, the Harvard Law graduate experiencing homelessness and diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was overwhelmed with frustration. While this man is important and deserves access to services, the story brings up important questions to ask in our mainstream discussion of mental health. The glaring stereotypes and what the article says about how we view certain populations in our society...

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