Monday, June 3, 2013

APA Representatives Attend White House Mental Health Conference


APA was well represented at today's National Conference on Mental Health hosted by President Obama and Vice-President Biden at the White House. The conference was a key part of the Obama administration's effort to launch a "national conversation to increase understanding and awareness about mental health." Invited to attend the conference were APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., Psychiatric News Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., who is also president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and APA President-elect Paul Summergrad, M.D. Summergrad was representing the American Hospital Association, where he is chair of  the Governing Council for Psychiatry and Substance Abuse Services. 

Commenting after the conference, Lieberman said,“We commend the administration’s efforts through this national dialogue to focus attention and resources on important mental health issues and the need to eliminate stigma and improve access to quality care for all individuals who need mental health services. An important part of that access is insurance coverage for mental health treatment, and we look forward to working with the administration to fully implement parity for mental health care nationwide.”

Former member of Congress Patrick Kennedy, who also attended the conference and is a senior strategic advisor for APA, stressed the need for parity to be a major focus of White House efforts. “We need the federal government to take the lead, making sure that insurance companies honor the parity act by covering mental health and substance use disorders on the same footing as any other health problems. Only then will patients throughout the country be assured that they are receiving the coverage they are paying for,” he said.

(In above photo, from left, are Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., Patrick Kennedy, Paul Summergrad, M.D., and Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.)

To provide information and resources about mental health, the Department of Health and Human Services today launched a Web site, www.mentalhealth.gov

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