April 25, 2021
By Jeff Thomas, Jodi Daly and Tom Sebastian
If there were any remaining doubts that mental health is fundamental to health itself, the pandemic has erased them. Over the past year, we’ve all felt the intrinsic connection between physical and mental wellness. Decades of research bears this out, and even the most recent COVID-19 studies show that nearly one-third of virus survivors suffer from lingering neurological and psychiatric issues.
Now, as we collectively address and recover from the aftermath of daily stressors, social isolation and economic turmoil, it’s critical that we all recognize another fundamental truth: What is good for community behavioral health is good for our community.
Alarmingly, our community behavioral health system is in crisis. We cannot hire and retain enough mental health professionals to meet demand for our services, and it’s putting the health of our communities at risk.
State lawmakers must step up with changes to community behavioral health funding to ensure providers can continue to fill our vital roles. We act as a lifeline for the mental and physical health of our most vulnerable community members, ease strain on other community partners such as hospitals and law enforcement and serve as an economic stimulator by supporting productivity among those we serve and as large employers ourselves.
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