2008-10-04 / Editorials & Letters

'There is NO health without mental health'

Editor:

The enactment of a federal mental health parity law by Congress this month will broadly outlaw insurance discrimination against people with mental illness and substance-use disorders.

I applaud Senators Voinovich and Brown as well as Representatives Space and Tiberi for their support of this important legislation which will benefit over 113 million Americans.

This law recognizes that mental health and substance-use conditions are just as real and treatable as other medical conditions. Now we have to build on its passage and work to enact other policies that increase the ability of average Americans to obtain mental health care.

Mental health conditions affect over one in five Americans and cost over $100 billion in lost earnings. They are also often intertwined with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.

Scientific advances have led to a range of effective treatments and preventative tools, but our country isn't deploying them.

We need health care reforms and policies that recognize these realities and embrace the principle that mental health is essential to our overall health. There is NO health without mental health.

Paddy Kutz

Mental Health America of Licking County

Newark

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