Sunday, November 10, 2013

New NAMI Needed: National Alliance on SERIOUS Mental Illness (NASMI)

I think there needs to be a National Membership Org that focuses exclusively on Serious Mental Illness including important politically incorrect issues that NAMI refuses to address like preservation of enough psychiatric hospital beds, expansion of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), and relaxation of civil commitment laws.

One way to get it going would be to get former NAMI National Board Members to lend their name, form a nucleus. Perhaps call the new organization the National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness (NASMI)

State and local organizations can eventually make a decision as to whether they prefer to be part of the existing NAMI, or the one that makes serious mental illness their number one priority.

I believe the following former National NAMI Board Members might be willing to help: Eleanor Owen, Bernie Schell, Gerald Tarutis, Carla Jacobs, perhaps Fred Frese, Richard Lamb,and moi. If you know of more names, add them to this post.

Here is the National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness Facebook Page where you can discuss the idea

Friday, November 8, 2013

Obama Mental Illness Parity Regulations Fail to Help the Most Seriously Mentally ill

The Obama administration announced new regulations requiring private insurers to do what the federal government wont: provide health care coverage for mental illnesses equal to that provided for other physical illnesses. The new regulations will help many, but only few of the most seriously mentally ill. And while requiring private insurers to end discrimination against mental illness is to be lauded, it is unconscionable, dangerous and expensive to allow the federal government to continue its own discrimination.

President Obama should focus any incremental social service and health care programs on those who need it most, rather than the higher functioning.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NYC Mental Health Dept. must Prioritize Serious Mental Illness Rather than Mental Health

Testimony by DJ Jaffe, to NYC Dept of Health and Mental HealthNov. 1, 2013

My name is DJ Jaffe. I am Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org.

NYC and State used to focus all their resources on people with serious mental illness, but both are engaged in massive mission-creep that now leaves the most seriously ill to fend for themselves. Bullying is the newest cause celebre used by NYC to justify ignoring serious mental illness[1]. The fact that bullying isn’t a mental illness matters not a whit when it comes to spending money. Peer support-in spite of lack of evidence that it reduces violence, arrest, homelessness, suicide and incarceration is flooded with money while Kendra’s Law proven to help the most seriously ill is largely ignored.

NYC has largely abandoned efforts at symptom amelioration for the most seriously ill and instead focuses on ‘recovery’ and ‘wellness’ services for those who are higher functioning. The mental health system, which used to be a mental illness system, has offloaded the most seriously ill to the shelters, prisons, jails and morgues. As a result Riker’s Island is now the primary provider of services to the seriously ill in NYC. There is no known way to prevent mental illness, but ‘prevention’ ranks high in the department’s activities. “Early Identification” is the  new buzz word, when those identified can’t get treatment. Mission-creep and ignoring the elephant in the room: untreated serious mental illness has become policy.

We would ask that NYC stop shunning the seriously mentally ill, end mission creep and return to making serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and treatment resistant bipolar disorder a department priority.

Here is how NYC can help people with serious mental illness