May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Friday, May 4, 2018

Millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues. In Indiana, as many as one in 17 people are living with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Living with a mental illness can be a struggle for these individuals, their families and communities. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to bring attention to these struggles and look for ways to help those experiencing the effects to achieve wellness and good mental health.

During the 2018 legislative session, many notable bills dealing with mental health passed and were recently signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Under previous law, mental health counselor and mental health counselor associate applicants had to complete 1,000 hours in a counseling setting through a clinical practicum, internship or field experience to receive a license. At least 100 of the 1,000 hours had to include face-to-face supervision.

Now, Senate Enrolled Act 224 requires mental health counselors to complete only 700 hours in a counseling setting through a clinical practicum, internship or field experience, and only 66 of the 700 hours would require face-to-face supervision. Plus, up to 50 percent of the supervised hours may be virtual supervision. SEA 224 will allow clinicians to get to work sooner and help the families in our state who are in need of counseling.

House Enrolled Act 1007 increases the number of opioid treatment programs from 18 to 27. Under the bill, the Division of Mental Health and Addiction can grant the approval for the nine additional programs, which will be operated by hospitals. This will ensure treatment centers are within a one hour drive of every Hoosier.

House Enrolled Act 1141 updates the way county funding for community mental health centers is calculated and administered to ensure the centers receive the appropriate amount of local support to continue serving their communities.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, visit the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction or the Indiana branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for support, education and training.