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New CMS Rule a Huge Boost for Mental Health Screening B4Stage4

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO, Mental Health America

The best news sometimes comes when we least expect it. And those of us who have been pushing for years for early identification and intervention in schools for kids with mental health concerns got some unexpectedly good news last month.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a letter that reversed a long-standing “Free Care” rule

Reflecting on Sandy Hook Two Years Later

By Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America President/CEO

I was sitting at home doing some writing two years ago when I turned on the noontime news. There was only a small news item at first – there had been a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in Newtown, and there were at least a couple of confirmed casualties.

It hit home for me, because of my Connecticut roots, and I began to pay close attention. As the next few hours unfolded and the extent of the tragedy became known, I was shocked and horrified by what I learned.

Disparity, Not Parity

By Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America

It’s disparity, not parity, that’s the norm for mental health status and services in America.

The Wrap on a Great 2014 Annual Conference

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO

Mental Health America hosted its 2014 Annual Conference in Atlanta last week, and it was a terrific and energizing event. Those who attended know what I’m talking about – the drive, the content, the messaging, the enthusiasm in the room – well, pretty much everything – suggested that in Mental Health America and its affiliates we have some of the most innovative, dedicated, and inspiring mental health advocates in the nation.

Here’s just a sampling of what transpired over the two days:

The Dangers of Stage 4 Thinking about Serious Mental Illnesses

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO

During my first hundred days at Mental Health America, I have frequently made the case that mental health policymakers and practitioners are too often mired in “Stage 4” thinking when they think about serious mental illnesses.

Here’s what I mean – they use an “imminent danger to self or others” as a standard for determining who gets care.  That near-death time typically only comes during the latest stages of a chronic disease process, or Stage 4.

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