May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of people are affected by mental illness each year. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. As the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases affects our entire country, so too will the need for access to mental health treatment and awareness of mental health issues. So far, older adults, along with those who have underlying health conditions, have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak, with many developing severe, life threatening illnesses. Another group that is expected to be acutely affected by the pandemic include those who have severe mental illness.

Mental illness is a real and treatable set of conditions that includes major depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia, among dozens of others. These disorders are serious enough to significantly impact a person’s daily life functioning, whether at school, work or in their relationships with others.

Mental health issues often coincide with a unique set of challenges that make it difficult for people to access even the most necessities, such as food, medications, stable housing, and healthcare. Combined, all these factors put people with severe mental illness at a much higher risk for contracting and transmitting the new coronavirus and dealing with COVID-19.

In response to rising concerns over mental health during COVID-19, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has published Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak.

Despite the large number of Americans affected by such disorders, stigma surrounding mental illness is a major barrier that prevents people from seeking the mental health treatment that they need. Another huge barrier that prevents people from receiving the mental health treatment that they need are the insurance companies.

In response to COVID-19, federal and state legislation and regulation has rapidly changed to increase availability of telemental health services. In California for example, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the California Department of Insurance directed health insurance companies to provide increased telehealth access for consumers during the declared COVID-19 state of emergency. Health insurance companies must continue to provide access to medically necessary care and California policyholders should be able to access medically necessary health care without physically visiting their provider in person, when clinically appropriate.

At Kantor & Kantor we work to put an end to stigma surrounding mental illness and we advocate for treatment and recovery. We are willing to stand up to the insurance companies when they deny treatment and we understand that living with a mental illness is different for everyone.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and you are being denied benefits by your insurance, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 800-446-7529. We understand, and we can help.

 

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