As healthcare reform legislation slowly takes shape, it is imperative that our public officials ensure equal coverage for mental health disorders.
The Senate Finance Committee made a critical change in its healthcare reform bill earlier this month to include full coverage for mental healthcare. This was an essential and welcome addition that was long overdue for the millions of men, women and children affected by conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But this measure could easily fall by the wayside in the coming weeks if each of us is not vigilant in insisting that full coverage for mental health is a non-negotiable component of healthcare reform.
Too much is at stake to argue otherwise. We are all impacted by brain disorders. Statistics show that one in five Americans is diagnosed with a mental illness in his or her lifetime. Virtually every other American knows or loves someone who is diagnosed with a mental illness.