‘Your Struggle Is Part of Your Story’ How To Fix Behavioral Health Care


Frank Diamond

Some of the greatest people who’ve ever lived not only overcame pain and suffering, but achieved their greatness because—rather than in spite—of those conditions. That includes behavioral health as well. Recall the best-selling biography of one of our greatest leaders: Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness. That’s fueled his greatness.

To which we might rejoin: phooey! The emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth associated with cancer has been well-documented, too. But who wants cancer? And once gotten, who doesn’t want to do everything to treat it and get better?

Leaf through this issue and you’ll find stories about how mental health parity isn’t—but might be getting there (page 6), how enabling primary care physicians to more easily prescribe buprenorphine could help save thousands of more lives a year (page 15), how patients with mental health problems often don’t get the care they need for other conditions and how an HHS demonstration project in eight states seeks to address that problem (page 18), and how a dearth of psychiatrists is fostering a team approach to the problem, but with detractors (page 20).

Finally, there’s our interview with former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (page 23), who dives deep on all of these subjects, relying on a lifetime of commitment to improving behavioral health, as well as his personal struggles.

He does not pull punches. For instance, he’s dead set against the legalization of marijuana. And the insurance industry? He says “it’s shocking that AHIP has not stepped up to the plate. These insurers have taken a very defensive posture on this. It’s tragic.”

Care to respond? Email me at frank.diamond@iconplc.com. Let’s talk.

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