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Eat a Cupcake: October 10, 2008 is World Mental Health Day

October 7, 2008
Be good to yourself.
Have a cupcake.
You deserve it.

October 10, 2008 is
World Mental Health Day. The promotion of treatment and prevention of mental health disorders through community support, intervention and advocacy should be everyone’s concern.
The World Health Organization, defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” A healthy mind goes hand in hand with a healthy body to create a synchronized state of well being. Today, is a good reason to take a mini mental vacation to take stock of your life and state of mind.

Every functioning adult who doesn’t live in a cave or isn’t not medicated on Thorazine suffers from an episode of depression or a mental health related symptom during their life time. On a personal level, I’ve suffered from depression and related issues for most of my adult life. There are wounds not visible to the naked eye. Depression is not an illness that’s apparent like a cast on a broken limb a bandage for a wound. It can be crippling and render you totally dysfunctional. Without competent and consistent treatment, it affects the quality of your life and relationships. Of course, every adult is responsible for the life they lead. But, depression limits one’s ability to make healthy choices in mind and body, without the immediate care of professional mental health care providers. Without timely intervention, depression can spread like a brushfire and send you plummeting into a minefield of despair and hopelessness. Trying to recover on your own is like swimming with lead boots. You slowly sink to the depths of darkness.

The treatment of mental health in the U.S. is finally on parity with physical illness, provided you have health insurance. However, mental health treatment is not an absolute. Group health insurance policies are not required to cover the treatment of mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse. If your employer chooses to opt out you have no coverage. If you are fortunate to have group coverage, the bill passed by Congress prevents a higher deductible or co-pay for those services than charged for medical or surgical treatment. If you are uninsured, low income or poorly insured, the parity bill won’t help you receive treatment.

Advocacy is still required to relieve those who suffer from any form of mental/emotional illness of the stigma and financial burden that prevents acceptance and the need for treatment. More important is the public policy consideration and health care reform needed to provide services for the poor and disenfranchised who sorely need the attention of mental health professionals and lack the means to obtain it. Poverty is a big factor of mental illness. The homeless and impoverished suffer from a higher rate of mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction. They usually end up in jail and suffer punishment rather than recovery in a rehab center for their addictions.

This is an election year. Make your voice count by finding out how your
candidates stand on health care and mental health legislation. Change only occurs when public policy addresses the socio economic needs of everyone.

To receive a CD of the 2008 World Mental Health Campaign send your mailing address to

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