In health, states increasingly look to prevention and early intervention as ways to provide better health outcomes and to reduce health costs. Models of mental health care reform also are moving toward a complete behavioral health system with the goal of providing patients with early access to treatment.
After a community faces a violent tragedy—like Sandy Hook, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Tucson, Ariz.—members of the community and policymakers alike are thirsty for solutions. One program many communities are looking to is Mental Health First Aid.
Yesterday the Office of National Drug Control Policy urged that first responders be equipped with naloxone, a medication used to counteract opiate overdoses. Some states already have laws on the books to do just that.
Certified peer specialists support people recovering from a mental illness or addiction. Peer specialists can ease the scarcity of mental health workers as the demand for mental health services increases under the Affordable Care Act.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law this week a behavioral health parity bill that brings state law into line with federal law on requiring mental health coverage be comparable with other physical health coverage. The Chicago Tribune reported the Governor said at the signing "no one should be forced to forgo critical mental health care because of where they live or because their insurance charges more."