Image that reads: You Have a Voice

By Aubrey Boggs, CMWN Intern

Wednesday we introduced you to the Senate’s version of mental health reform legislation – SB2680 “Mental Health Reform Act of 2016” the bill is very comprehensive, but below are some of the key points of the bill.

Key Provisions of Senate Bill 2680

  • This bill does not take away HIPPA rights from individuals with mental health conditions. (HR 2646 would offer families and caregivers private and confidential HIPAA information in certain situations).
  • The bill would expand efforts to ensure that mental health parity is being enforced.
  • The act would ensure that mental health insurance care and coverage is comparable to physical health care and coverage.
  • Funding to support individuals experiencing homelessness that also have substance use disorders.
  • Continued funding and support of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Program
  • Grants for “strengthening community crisis response systems”.

This bill is quite an improvement over the alternative, HR 2646. Individuals with lived experience should have input around their own care and the care of their peers and community. Can you imagine if the government decided they would no longer have elections and instead of voting they would just decide for us, because they know what’s best for us!?!?! No that would be wrong, but that is how HR2646 has been created, with no input or opportunity for input from individuals who these bills affect most.

The fact that this bill uses recovery language, makes considerations for cultural and language deficits in our current system, and seeks to promote a system of integrated and whole person care is encouraging. Supporting individuals with mental health and substance use conditions means listening to those individuals and treating them as resources in re-framing the way we discuss mental health and substance use and in how we create systems to support those individuals.

We will let you know when the bill is read and when action is needed!

More on Senate Bill 2680: Mental Health Reform Act of 2016

Amanda Kearney-Smith

I founded the Network as the Executive Director in 2011 and, before that, I was a program director at Mental Health Colorado. My educational background is in Developmental Psychology, but living with bipolar disorder has drawn me to this work. I'm most passionate about protecting the civil rights and dignity of others. In my free time, I love reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my family here and in Illinois.

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