Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mental Illness Awareness and Improvement Act (S-689) Not Written To Help Mentally Ill

Mental Illness Awareness and Improvement Act (S 689) may go to Senate this week. It will increase funding for "Mental Health First Aid", a program sometimes taught by consumers certified to teach it. It is well-intentioned. It will make legislators feel better, and the trade association representing mental health providers richer, but it won't help people with serious mental illness. Many sections focus on children, but serious mental illness doesn't start until late teens. It funds programs not proven to help and likely don't help. Here is our analysis, footnotes, Notes on the study of MHFA, and analysis of other sections.

Mental Health First Aid is Unproven yet Government Subsidized
Analysis by Mental Illness Policy Org (3/18/12)


As part of his “Now is the Time” initiative in response to the shootings at Newtown, President Obama announced support for $15 million to Mental Health First Aid Program and a $20 million dollar bill was introduced.  (1, 2)  Mental Health First Aid is a commercially available training program created in Australia and now sold by non-profits elsewhere. The training program teaches people to identify the symptoms of mental illness in others and connect them to help. (3) It also licenses others to be trainers for a fee.

There is no evidence Mental Health First Aid has any impact on persons with mental illness.


Thirty-six of the 55 studies on Mental Health First Aid were authored or co-authored by the founders and owners of the approach, Betty Kitchener or

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Mentally Ill Son versus Your Son With Another Type of Illness

Laura Pogliano, a mother and advocate in Maryland wrote on the difference between her experience of having a child with serious mental illness and your experience having a child with another type of illness:

Your child's illness gets 500, 000 likes on Facebook when you post a picture or ask for prayers
My child's illness gets about 5, from people who already know us and know of our struggle

Your child's illness gets copious amounts of tax dollars to fund more research for cures; your child's illness has a congressionally approved budget
My child's illness gets funds cut by 25-40% due to the sequester, or whenever social services are on the chopping block, which is nearly every single time a budget is passed

Your child's illness gets the sympathy of complete strangers, world wide
My child's illness gets labeled by people in the press every day: pscyho, headcase, lunatic, maniac, nutjob, monster, freeloader

Your child's illness gets insurance coverage so he can actually get well
My child's illness gets 30 days coverage per year, with an average inpatient stay of 11 days, with no social workers, therapists, or psychiatric coverage