Pulling from a recent report released by the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity, The Kennedy Forum, The Carter Center, and Well Being Trust, each state in the following map has been assigned a “grade” for how well it is enforcing mental health parity. Parity is a federal law that requires insurers to cover illnesses of the brain, such as depression or addiction, no more restrictively than illnesses of the body, such as diabetes or cancer.
In a few select states, we explore people and groups that are undertaking initiatives to improve the culture and climate of mental health in their community and state. However, in order to improve what Tyler Norris, CEO of Well Being Trust, calls “diseases and deaths of despair,” these initiatives cannot function in isolation. He says it will take a monumental shift at multiple levels. “We have to address the policy environment, improve the care, address the community conditions, change the conversation and then hold ourselves accountable.”
Challenging as this is, Norris is optimistic because, “the reality of our human condition reminds us that our fate is bound up with one another.”