Letter: NYC mayor announcement for helping the mentally ill
NYC Mayor Eric Adams just announced some policy changes to try to help the mentally ill. Most responses to this change seem to be negative. I am responding with a resounding YES, finally someone in this country is trying to start the process towards change.
Stopping the mentally ill from falling through the cracks of the system, as it stands, all across this country is needed. Right now it is more of a “revolving door” problem with very little follow up care. More follow up case workers and/or social workers are needed to ensure that a person being released from the behavioral units are set up with Medicaid insurance and a follow up clinic/ doctor. Medicare and Medicaid insurance needs to actively cover “all” types of the medication and other health services needed. This is a huge problem. Once a person is medicated and has the ability to hold down a job and live on their own they may no longer qualify for Medicaid insurance. They are forced to change to Medicare insurance, which does not usually cover their current medications, clinics and therapists, which is destabilizing to their mental health and usually begins a downward spiral towards another episode. This is a set up for failure.
Also, we need to realize even if a person receives or is eligible to receive services they often don’t have affordable housing because their disability income is so restricted. Once someone has the ability to be employed, Medicaid restricts the amount of money they can earn to such a large degree that they are unable to afford housing, bills, and food. Which will again, force them onto Medicare which doesn’t support their existing care plan. As a country we need to realize that once a mentally ill person finds a medication that works we need to make sure that they can continue to receive it. There is a long way to go, but at least this Mayor is starting the process and making people have the necessary discussions. Utah needs to pay attention.