Alas, mental health parity is the law, but you might have missed that story.
Passage of Mental Health Parity legislation means insurance coverage must be provided for mental illness at the same level as physical ailments. The measure was hidden within the $850-billion bailout bill, rather than passed as stand alone legislation.
"Of course I think we would have preferred for it to be a stand alone bill, however, knowing the dealings within Congress, how difficult it may be to get things passed, that we're looking at this as being a positive move for us."
Karen Handrich President/CEO with Mental Health America of Wisconsin still needs to closely examine the federal bill, make sure it's not watered down and it has coverage for substance abuse. Handrich says this new law should help many people.
"With this parity bill, we're hoping that the implications will be that more people will have the treatment and don't suffer alone."
Often time people associate mental illness with psychosis, schizophrenia, or retardation, but that's not always the case. Mental illness includes depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Handrich says one in four of us experience some sort of mental health disorder each year.
"Just for the state of Wisconsin alone, there is one in six individuals will experience or suffer from depression, but thousands go untreated."
Wisconsin is one of just a handful of states which does not offer Mental Health Parity. Mental Illness Awareness Week took place October 5-11.