Mental health, state’s stepchild
To the Editor:
Thank you for your excellent editorial last week on mental-health insurance parity, “State must do right by mental health patients.” Mental health should not be treated any differently than physical health by insurance companies in New York state. The stigma related to mental health has been exacerbated by insurers. I hope the state Department of Financial Services and the commissioners of health and mental health will be diligent in their oversight obligations.
People with mental health issues have often been the stepchildren of the state government. Needed mental health workers have not received a cost-of-living adjustment in their salaries for nine years.
Meanwhile, people with mental health issues are encountering a great deal of difficulty with insurance companies while trying to access appropriate services and medications. Mental health housing with wraparound support services must be appropriately funded at 2019 rates.
There are sources of support for people with mental illnesses and their loved ones. The Queens-Nassau affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers education, support and advocacy. The organization sponsors many support and education groups, as well as recreation and other services. You can go to NAMI’s website, namiqn.org, or call (516) 326-0797 for more information.
David Sills, Oceanside