I recently had the honor of representing the Louisiana Psychological Association at the national State Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other psychologists from across the country, discuss issues relating to mental health services as well as advocate for mental health reform legislation. There are currently several bills in the US House and Senate that would significantly impact mental health services for families across the country.
Among them, SB 1945, sponsored by our very own Senator Cassidy, would do a number of things including prioritizing grant funding for early intervention programs, remove the 180 day lifetime cap for inpatient mental health facility admissions, and allow children with Medicaid to see both their primary care physician and a mental health practitioner on the same day in community mental health settings. The bill would also allow mental health practitioners to provide family members of patients who are in severe mental crisis important information regarding the treatment of their loved ones to help assist in their care.
With all of the changes happening to mental health care at both the state and national level, it is so important that families stay aware of the legislation being introduced that will both positively and negatively impact the services they receive. I strongly feel that advocacy for our children is a top priority. There is power in numbers and it’s important that your voice be heard! To find out who your local state legislator is, please go to https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx and enter your address. For your US Representatives, please visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. A personal phone call or email from a constituent in their district goes a long way in making a difference.
Dr. Lacey is the CEO and Clinical Director of Live Oak Children’s Center. She is currently serving as President of the Louisiana Psychological Association.