By Heather Miller-Edwardson, LPC, LLMFT
It is oftentimes in the wake of tragedy that we begin to create space for the tough conversations. With recent tragedies in our communities nationwide, we are beginning to discuss our approach to mental health care. Too often individuals face significant barriers to receiving mental health care. Helping Professionals have continued to fight stigma and fight to create acceptance and encouragement for seeking treatment. However, after we battle stigma, we now face yet another significant challenge for our community members to receive services and that is the lack of insurance coverage.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports “1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in a given year”. The current lack of insurance coverage and support creates yet another barrier in the health and wellness of our families, neighbors, students, and co-workers. We are all needed in addressing this barrier. Locally, Priority Health and United Behavioural Health, have contributed to this significant barrier in receiving support and treatment for many in our communities that experience mental health concerns. If you have Priority Health Medicaid there is not a counseling group or agency in Grandville that can offer support. Not because we do not want to support you, but because Priority Health will not allow more therapists to join their network. Additionally,the insurance companies have changed the counseling session length to save money. So what once was a normal counseling session is called “extended” and needs special permission.
Renewed attention has been placed on mental health services which is essential in addressing how to aid in the health and well-being of our communities. We can all be a part of the fight to eliminate the barrier to insurance coverage for mental health concerns. Check into your coverage and see if you are covered if you are your loved ones would need to address mental health concerns. Join us in the conversation, help us open the door to change.