Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13
Monday, January 07, 2013
I got this from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Shocking.
January 7, 2013
Dear Mental Health Advocate,
Recently, NAMI Ohio's Executive Director, Terry Russell, had the opportunity to participate in a press conference at the Statehouse calling attention to the importance of expanding Medicaid to individuals up to 138% of poverty. Apparently, reporters at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and PolitiFact.com were so blown away by a statistic that Terry referenced to make his point that they checked it out to be sure it was true. No surprise to us, it is regrettably quite true. A copy of the article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer from January 2nd is printed below.
Your friends at NAMI Ohio
NAMI Ohio leader Terry Russell says people with mental illnesses die 25 years earlier, on average, than those without
by, Tom Feran
One of the questions about the state budget proposal that Gov. John Kasich is expected to announce in February is whether the state will follow through with the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid coverage. The federal health care law would expand coverage to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level -- a provision which was made optional under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that otherwise upheld the law.
A bipartisan group of 85 health coverage organizations has written to the governor saying anything less than the full 138 percent would cause people to drop or skip coverage, endangering their health.
Terry Russell, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio, told Gongwer News Service that mentally ill Ohioans struggle to stay employed, and that local mental health agencies have marginal resources to help.
"The sad statistic that haunts us every day is that individuals with mental illnesses die an average of 25 years earlier than those without a mental illness," he said. "Sixty percent of these premature deaths are the result of preventable and treatable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and infections."
PolitiFact Ohio checked into his claim about 25 years, and quickly found his statement was right on the money.
A study published in 2006 by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors that was the focus of wide attention and concern in the mental health community looked at data from 16 states, including Ohio.
It found that, on average, people with severe mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population.
The figure for Ohio was actually worse. People with severe mental illness die 32 years earlier.
Calling it "a serious public health problem for the people served by our state mental health systems," the study said about 60 percent of premature deaths are due to conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases.
A number of factors contribute to risk, the study said, including modifiable factors like obesity, poor nutrition and alcohol and tobacco use. People with severe mental illness have poorer access to appropriate health care, and may be additionally vulnerable because of higher rates of homelessness, victimization, unemployment and poverty.
Among its recommendations, the report called for better access to physical health care for people with serious mental illnesses to fight what it called an "epidemic of premature death and its contributing causes."
Russell said that people with mental illnesses, on average, die 25 years earlier than those without a mental illness. He accurately cited findings of a major study on the issue. And in Ohio, the average is actually greater than 25 years.
Over the years I have noticed that when I have the least hope a rainbow appears. Rainbows are a wonderful combination of beauty, hope, happiness and rain, the product of ugly grey clouds that hide the beauty of the sky. The beauty that is a rainbow can only come with the presence of both rain and sun. Such is life with bipolar disorder. There are good times, there are tough times, and there are rainbows to remind us that beauty will return, sometimes fleetingly and sometimes for a long time. This blog is my story of sadness and hope. Please scroll down to "Who I Am" under Pages to read more about me and the people who populate this blog.
Please note that any patient experiences noted in this blog are heavily edited to disguise events. Similarities to real persons are coincidental.
Please also know that while I speak as a professional at times, I am not a doctor. I have strong opinions, some based on professional training and/or experience, some based on research, and some based on personal experience of my own variety of this illness. Therefore what I say is my opinion, not a fact and doctors should always be consulted.