Nashville, Tenn. – Centerstone and Centerstone Research Institute today praised mental health recommendations made by President Barack Obama as part of his Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence and called on government leaders to assist in enacting the recommendations as quickly as possible.
“One in five Americans will have a mental health disorder in their lifetime, but many will not get the treatment and support they need to effectively recover and lead a healthy and productive life,” said David C. Guth, Jr. CEO of Centerstone. “The recommendations issued by President Obama are an excellent first step in strengthening our mental health system, and they must be implemented quickly to ensure that no one who needs help falls through the cracks.”
Measures suggested in The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities included:
- Increasing access to mental health services – particularly among children and young adults – by providing Mental Health First Aid training to those in our education system and training 5,000 additional mental health professionals to serve our nation’s youth.
- Improving accessibility of mental healthcare by ensuring that public and private insurers are covering mental health equally with physical health. This includes mental health coverage for the 6-10 million uninsured Americans who will receive health coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The president also noted the role that every American has to play in protecting and supporting everyone in our communities.
“Policies that open more doors to mental health services are imperative, but as a nation, we still have a lot to do to break down barriers to care,” added Guth. “It is crucial that we work together to correct long-held misperceptions about mental illness, including that those who have mental health disorders are dangerous or at fault for their conditions, and erase the stigma that keeps families from seeking treatment. There are additional steps that we can take immediately to create mentally healthy communities.”
Additional ways to strengthen mental healthcare that Centerstone recommends include:
- Offering Mental Health First Aid training not only to teachers and staff within our schools, but also to first responders, religious leaders, parents, and business and community leaders. This training is vital in helping to identify and support individuals of all ages who may be experiencing – or heading toward – a mental health crisis. Centerstone employs certified Mental Health First Aid trainers and can attest to the tremendous difference this education makes in communities.
- Support the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which will be reintroduced in Congress in the coming weeks. This legislation will increase access to and improve the quality of community behavioral healthcare.
- Funding life-saving crisis services in all 50 states. A lack of crisis response services in many states has created an environment in which the criminal justice system has become the number one mental health provider in the US. Providing these crisis services will ensure that people in crisis situations will receive rapid support and treatment.
- Expanding and strengthening care management services. These services involve behavioral health professionals going to the homes of those with mental illness to not only assess their mental state but address any other issues keeping them away from treatment. Care management services address the major problem of failure to show up for appointments or comply with care plans. They are currently on the chopping block or being limited under many managed care plans.
- Ensuring that community mental health systems are working hand-in-hand with schools, jails and primary care providers. These essential partnerships are critical to address violence resulting from rage and alienation. However, long-standing funding and regulatory barriers currently are impeding these partnerships.
- Providing additional funding for mental health research. Research is essential in uncovering the best treatments for mental health disorders and also can provide greater insight into those who commit acts of violence, which is a first step in better prevention of these acts.
?“Truly strengthening our mental health system and working to prevent violence will require the collaboration of many, including behavioral health professionals, teachers, physicians, those in law enforcement, government leaders and families,” said Tom Doub, PhD, CEO of Centerstone Research Institute. “Centerstone and Centerstone Research Institute are committed to this collaboration and to being part of the national dialogue on mental health. We intend to leverage our expertise, partnerships and resources to make a difference across our nation and improve care so that lives are saved instead of lost.”
Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, is one the nation’s largest providers of community-based behavioral healthcare. It provides a full range of mental health, addiction and related educational services to more than 75,000 individuals of all ages each year. The organization has nearly 130 facilities and 220 partnership locations throughout Indiana and Tennessee, and a nationwide provider network. It also operates Centerstone Foundation, Centerstone Research Institute, Advantage Behavioral Health and Not Alone. For more information about Centerstone, please visit www.centerstone.org.
About Centerstone Research Institute
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care for those with mental health and addiction disorders. CRI provides research, analytics and evaluation services that help bridge the gap between the scientific discovery of effective treatments and the implementation of these treatments into standard clinical practice. CRI is funded through contracts, grants, foundations and individual donors who share the organization’s commitment to bridging the gap between science and service. Learn more about CRI at www.centerstoneresearch.org.