Health Care System Fails Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED)

The health care system has failed to address the needs of persons with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and serious emotional disturbances (SED). 4% percentage of the adult population, age 18 and over, living with SMI. 1 in 4 individuals with SMI live below the poverty line. 25x the suicide rate for individuals with mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder is 25 times higher than among the general population. 1 in 10 youths in SAMHSA's CMHI program had attempted suicide prior to receiving services. 2 million approximate number of persons with SMI admitted annually to US jails. Only about 1 in 3 people with mental illness in jails or prisons is currently receiving any treatment. 7% to 12% of youth under age 18 who have SED.

The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers

The Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) has released a report detailing a plan for helping adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and children and youth with serious emotional disturbances (SED). The report includes current needs of individuals with these issues, advances in clinical care, as well as extensive recommendations for improving the way we address these challenges. (Quoting NAMI California email dated January 18, 2018)

Press Conference

Members of the ISMICC discussed the recommendations in their first Report to Congress during a press conference on Thursday, December 14, 2017. The findings and recommendations in the report have the potential to spur federal action to revolutionize behavioral health care by increasing access, quality, and affordability of care. (Quoting SAMHSA.gov/about-us/advisory-councils/ismicc)

Full Report
Executive Summary

#Thankful for Support

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Thank you to my son for exercising more independence as I’ve been busy attending to my parents’ affairs, to my husband for everything from chipping in around the house to loving me deeply and devotedly, to my sister as we support each other in making decisions on our parents’ behalf now that they are unable to do so, to our extended family for supporting our decisions and loving us, to my friends, neighbors and online support network for being there, to the Silverado Memory Care Community in San Juan Capistrano for offering my parents’ excellent care and me support and respite, to Jane Mahakian, PhD of Aging Matters for facilitating care and helping my parents and me with this difficult life transition, to Rory Barish of Lane Four Real Estate for representing us as we negotiate leasing our parents’ home, to Steve Shields, CFP for helping with our parents’ financial planning, to my mental health providers, Brynne Lum, LMFT and Alex Michelson, MD, for helping me cope.

Much of the support I have access to is thanks to my parents’ savings. Few have such resources and do not have access to the same care options. That is tragic. Everyone needs access to excellent health care and excellent long term care. Not just those fortunate enough to have significant savings (or adequate long term care insurance) in their senior years.

Honestly, I never could do it without all of you. Thank you. God bless you all.