While recognizing the improvements and advancements made in the understanding and treatment of mental health conditions, United States President Barack Obama said “too many still suffer in silence” in a proclamation that was released today.
In the proclamation, he explains that it is unacceptable that “over the course of a year, one in five adults will experience a mental illness, yet less than half will receive treatment.”
In order to combat this issue, he and his administration are fighting to ensure that mental healthcare is more accessible than ever. He also mentioned the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it has extended mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to more than 60 million Americans.
“Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer deny coverage or charge patients more due to pre-existing health conditions, including mental illness. The ACA also requires health plans to cover recommended preventive services like depression screening and behavioral assessments at no out-of-pocket cost. And under this law, we are expanding services for mental health and substance use disorder at community health centers across the country,” Obama said.
Obama’s administration is investing in programs that promote mental health among the youth, and funding training for teachers to identify and respond to mental illness. Another major population was mentioned – veterans—about which he said the number of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health providers has been increased, VA partnerships with community providers have been enhanced, and there is now improved coordination on research efforts in this area.
At the end of the proclamation, he named May the National Mental Health Awareness Month and urged all individuals to raise awareness of this topic.