As most of you know, I’m a lobbyist for a membership association representing mental health professionals. I love what I do and more importantly, I love the issues that I work on. Mental health is not an easy topic to discuss especially on Capitol Hill. It’s a fact that our current mental health system needs improvement. However, there’s disagreement in Congress on the best course of action. Is it more funding? More providers? More research? Beyond that, the stigma still exists around mental health doesn’t make it the sexiest topic in Congress. So why should we advocate for mental health? Because if we don’t, no one else will.
If you have seen a psychologist or another mental health professional, think about those who don’t access to a provider or the funds available to cover the cost of seeing one. For families coping a severe mental illness, think about the prospects of not having support systems in place or even a facility to get treatment. These are the stories Members of Congress need to hear.
There are no easy answers or quick fixes when it comes to addressing the needs of our mental health system. Legislation is only one way to provoke change. However, with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a great opportunity to tell Congress to work with us to improve the lives of those with mental illness.