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Mental Health America announced important and exciting news in their April 18th Press Release, celebrating the Senate’s overwhelming passage (by a vote of 95-2) of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act (S. 689). This passage marks tremendous progress as the first significant mental health legislation passed by the Senate since 2008.

Developed by Senators Harkin and Alexander, S. 689 enhances awareness, prevention, and early identification of mental health conditions. Programs administered by both the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will support connections to appropriate services for children and youth.

In addition to increasing responsiveness and resources for the metal health community, this bipartisan legislation supports important federal programs such as suicide prevention, child trauma centers, and improved access to mental health in schools (Mental Health in Schools Act). Furthermore, S. 689 allows for a new federal Mental Health Awareness Training program, molded from the Mental Health First Aid legislation.

The passage of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act holds significance with regard to education of students, parents, administrators, and media in an effort to de-stigmatize the issue of mental illness. This bill takes us one step further towards achieving mental health parity, early intervention, prevention, and education. This bill encourages an environment where it will always be okay to talk about mental illness, an environment where it will always be okay to ask for help.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness):

The magnitude of this bill’s passage cannot be understated. Although there is much work to be done, this bill is yet another triumph in the fight for parity. At Kantor & Kantor, LLP, many of our clients are all too familiar with mental health parity violations and battling insurance denials for life-saving treatment. Every single day, we experience the distressing impact of those who stigmatize mental illness, those who lack knowledge and awareness of mental illness, those who lack access to resources for mental illness, and those who are denied access to treatment for mental illness. Mental illnesses are treatable health conditions, and at Kantor & Kantor, LLP, it is our job to make sure that you have access to the mental health treatment and insurance benefits to which you are entitled to.

If you have experienced a violation of mental health parity or have been denied coverage by your insurance company, please call our office for a no-cost consultation. We can help.