Lamar Odom’s cry for help illustrates value of mental health care, coverage

There is a greater emphasis on recognizing and receiving treatment for issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression, all of which fall under the umbrella of mental health.

There is a greater emphasis on recognizing and receiving treatment for issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression, all of which fall under the umbrella of mental health.

Lamar Odom is in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after reportedly losing consciousness while indulging in a weekend filled with drugs, all while battling untreated mental illness.

Lamar Odom is in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after reportedly losing consciousness while indulging in a weekend filled with drugs, all while battling untreated mental illness.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As people flock to social media to offer prayers for former NBA star Lamar Odom, who won two championships with the LA Lakers and is now fighting for his life in a Las Vegas hospital, his struggles with drug addiction and untreated mental illness have surfaced.

 

Mental Health Awareness week was October 5 – 10, but the importance of receiving the necessary treatment for mental health issues cannot be understood in a week. There have been concerted efforts by many advocates and associations to preach the significance of addressing issues that impact mental health and encourage individuals to seek help, instead of suffering in silence.

Mental Health awareness week may have just ended but the issue of dealing with mental health issues is a daily struggle for many.

Mental Health Awareness Week just ended but the issue of dealing with mental health issues is a daily struggle for many.

One of the major impediments to receiving mental health treatment is the perception that the treatment is too expensive.

Many people are unaware that most health insurance plans now include mental health care as part of the basic plan. In fact, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, mental health can no longer be used to exclude individuals from coverage.

new adAccording to Healthcare.gov, “all Marketplace plans cover mental health and substance abuse services as essential health benefits.”
All healthcare plans must cover:
•Behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy and counseling
•Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
•Substance use disorder (commonly known as substance abuse) treatment

These inclusions are designed to reduce the financial impact of receiving treatment for many issues that fall under the umbrella of mental health. Among those issues that qualify as mental health concerns are grief, anxiety, and depression as well as other more severe diagnoses.

A list of diagnoses covered under mental health.

A list of diagnoses covered under mental health.

The other huge impediment to receiving mental health treatment is the stigma many feel is associated with being diagnosed with a mental illness.

This concern is recognized as being a considerable problem in the African-American community which is why education and awareness is so vital with this issue. Untreated mental health conditions can lead to suicidal and homicidal thoughts and actions.

Acknowledging that there are personal problems that are beyond your understanding is a good step in the right direction. The next step is to contact your insurance advisor and make sure you have a plan in place to deal with mental health concerns.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets. 

Contact me directly at (646)309-1938 for your health insurance questions and concerns

Mental Health Awareness Month spotlights growing concerns, solutions

Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams, author, mental health advocate and publicist champions the cause of those who suffer from mental health diagnoses and encourages blacks to stop hiding and seek help. She is author of the book “Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting,” which deals with mental health in the black community and the stigma associated with dealing with mental illness.

By Carmen Glover

Mental health continues to be an area of profound concern globally because mental health diagnoses continue to be shrouded in secrecy, and for some, profound shame.  Interestingly, some individuals find it much easier to admit that they are HIV positive, because of the support that society provides through housing and financial aid, rather than acknowledge that they struggle with a mental health diagnosis.

Terrie Williams, mental health advocate, author and  public relations specialist

Terrie Williams, mental health advocate, author and public relations specialist

Although both HIV and mental heath diagnoses are protected by health shield laws, they can both be lethal if left untreated. When troubled rapper DMX appeared on “Iyanla Fix My Life,” the episode burned up social media because of the spectacle he made of himself. But some viewers were shrewd enough to recognize that his bizarre behavior was fueled by more than drug addiction. He displayed evidence of a co-occurring disorder, which was supported by revelations that he suffers from mental illness.

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Across the USA as carnage explodes in the form of mass murders and unprovoked attacks, mental health is often found to be the underlying trigger. Terrie Williams, who earned a master’s degree in sociology from Columbia University and stumbled into public relations as a career while caring for the late Miles Davis, went on to count Eddie Murphy, Nia Long and Essence Magazine among her boldfaced clientele. She wrote one of the most enduring books on the public relations industry, “The Personal Touch,” which some communications expert view as “the PR Bible.”

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But, speaking frankly at last year’s regional NABJ media conference at the Associated Press headquarters, Williams described tackling mental illness at the pinnacle of her very public career.

“I had a nervous breakdown several years ago and I’m on anti-depressants. For white people, therapy is a badge of honor and they will tell you, unasked, what anti-depressants they are on but blacks are afraid to face their struggles,” she said, to shouts of “Amen.” Pausing and glancing around the room, she smiled, then said “Everyone is walking the fine line of crazy. Face the truth of who you are: the good and the crazy as hell side. Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what that person’s journey is.”

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She cautioned the journalists listening to her raptly to take care of themselves. “Choose your friends and colleagues wisely because people’s spirits are transferable,” she said, to appreciative nods. “Release past hurts and learn to forgive, especially yourself. We are absolutely nothing without our emotional and physical health,” she added, before urging “Get help. Therapy is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Somehow, when someone who lives in the public eye like Williams does, shares a personal story, it resonates. If you have been feeling as if something is not quite right with you or a loved one, get help. Mental illness, at its most destructive, leads to suicide, feelings of hopelessness and  uncontrolled rage  If you are a loved one experience any of the signs of depression, seek help. As Williams puts it “Be able to ask for help when you are the strong one that everyone goes to for help and give yourself permission to say no.”

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Week is being observed  from October 5 to October 11. October 9 is National Depression Screening Day and October 10 is World Mental Health Day. –OnPointPress.net.