EDITOR: I echo Lois Henry’s (Californian columnist firstname.lastname@example.org) comments wholeheartedly: “It’s great that everyone wants to talk about mental illness now, in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
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The mantra is to get mental illness out in the open, remove the stigma and deal with it for what it is, a health issue. The state of California is even launching a social media ad campaign urging families to seek services early.
That’s all good and I applaud those efforts.
But it is not nearly enough. We need large, bold, practical changes.
That includes making insurance cover mental illness as a real health issue and not in the dribs and drabs it currently does. And it includes making sure people really can access the services that agencies claim are available, rather than creating insurmountable barriers because of the costs
Some of that would need to be done at the federal level.
But there’s work that can and must be done locally with help from state officials. Our Board of Supervisors must do a top-to-bottom review of what services are available locally and how they are, and aren’t, made available to families.
I’m hoping someone on the new board steps up to the challenge and listens to families dealing with mental illness.”