The stigma associated with mental illness may be starting to fade as people see members of the armed forces returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious mental problems. It is also fading as medical research improves the ability to identify the biological causes for mental illnesses, and as remarkably effective treatments for mental illnesses become available.
The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 broadly outlaws health insurance discrimination against Americans with mental health and substance-use conditions. This recognition of mental illnesses as treatable biological diseases with profound importance to overall health will, hopefully, further reduce the lingering stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Among the providers of treatment for mental illness and substance abuse in our region is Natchaug Hospital, which expanded its programs in recent years in order to help more people. Its addition of evening treatment programs for adults and 2006 launch of an opioid addiction recovery program are helping people get the help they need while still keeping up with their work and family responsibilities.
Three nights a week at any of Natchaug Hospital’s four Intensive Outpatient treatment programs can provide that extra help a person may need to be able to avoid more intensive treatments, such as inpatient hospitalization. The individual counseling and group therapy enables others to sustain their recovery and find their way back to work and families.
For more information on Natchaug Hospital’s treatment programs contact any of their nine locations, or visit their website, www.natchaug.org.