mental health

Boston Globe

US ‘on the cusp’ of mental health advances, Biden says

Vice President Joe Biden said it’s “astounding” what the country does not know and what it will learn about mental illness and disorders at the inaugural gala of the Kennedy Forum on mental health in Massachusetts Wednesday night. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also spoke at the conference marking the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy signing a law funding mental health centers. She applauded the new federal health care law for requiring insurers to provide more equal coverage of mental health disorders. Read more.

New York Times

Lacking Rules, Insurers Balk at Paying for Intensive Psychiatric Care

Despite assurances from federal officials that the Affordable Care Act classifies mental health care as an essential benefit, the underlying rules of coverage remain unclear, according to a report from The New York Times.

The problem lies in deciding how to treat mental illness because there is little consensus on a standard of care among doctors and researchers.The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 has more or less fallen short of its goal to require insurers to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance abuse disorders the same way they do other illnesses.

As millions of uninsured Americans prepare to sign up for coverage under the ACA on Tuesday, those seeking treatment for mental health must be ready to do a lot of the digging on their own. Read more.

Wall Street Journal

More Details Emerge in Washington Navy Yard Shooting

The suspect in Monday’s deadly shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., had sought treatment for mental health problems from the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to investigators.

Officials said Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist, sought treatment for paranoia and told others he had been “hearing voices.” Navy officials also reported behavioral issues, citing up to ten conduct offenses over the course of the four years Alexis spent in the Navy.

Monday’s shooting left 13 dead, including Alexis, and eight wounded. Read more.

News21 ‘Back Home’

Veterans at Greater Risk for Homelessness

Veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are, on the whole, younger than other vets who served prior and they may be at greater risk for homelessness, according to a report from the News21 program.

In particular, post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other mental and behavioral health issues are some of the leading causes of homelessness among post-9/11 veterans. Groups such as Vet Hunters and various shelters are working to find vets and address their issues in an effort to curb homelessness. Read more. 

Cronkite News

Lawmaker: Mental Health First Aid funding will help raise awareness

An Arizona program that teaches participants how to spot and respond to individuals in a mental health crisis will continue after receiving a $250,000 appropriation. Mental Health First Aid was established following the January 2011 shooting that killed six people and seriously wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Part of the training would be to first address the stigma associated with mental health disorders. Read more.