The 2008 law, “combined with the Affordable Care Act, will expand and protect behavioral health benefits for more than 62 million Americans,” Sebelius said, as reported by CNN.
But it’s certainly not all peaches and cream for people suffering from mental illness.
“The not-so-good news is, you are eligible for treatment now, but often the services are not available,” said Carolyn Reinarch Wolf, a lawyer whose specialty is cases related to mental illness.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are not enough psychiatrists in the nation to treat the people already seeking treatment. To be sure, medical research into mental health maladies is ongoing, but the number of medical students choosing to specialize in psychiatry has been going down. And most psychiatrists are age 55 or older, with many soon to retire.
Bit by bit, the stigma associated with psychiatric maladies is lessening and research is leading to more and better treatments. At least from where I stand, leaders like Rosalynn Carter deserve credit for working throughout their lives to help make such progress possible.
Dr. E. Kirsten Peters is the author of “Planet Rock Doc.” This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. Peters can be reached at rockdoc.wsu.edu and on Twitter @RockDocWSU.