The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 6, 2013

More resources needed to help mentally ill


With the work of the Ewing family, the Legislature in 2001 dropped the words “imminent” and “immediate” from the requirement that people with a diagnosed mental illness had to be a danger to themselves or others before they could be committed.

And even though federal law passed in 2008 was supposed to guarantee mental illness is covered by insurers like any other illness, that isn't always the case. As reported by The New York Times, insurance executives say the medical benefits of long-term treatments are not clear and the industry is essentially being asked to write a blank check.

As the Affordable Care Act is implemented, it's paramount that mental health coverage be a high priority and that insurers be challenged when coverage is denied.

The Ewing family shared the details of their heart-wrenching struggle because they have an objective: They want people with potentially dangerous mental illnesses to get the help they need long before a commitment is necessary, and that means getting more resources and support for the mentally ill.

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