I have been meaning to write this blog post for a while but the days just seem to get away from me. APTH has become such an important source of information to so many, which means a lot of time and attention on my part.
Never have I had such dedication and drive for a particular project as I do for the mission and success of APTH. Like I have said many times before, our family was given the gift of our son’s brave request for help (in his own way) and our ability to eventually provide that for him. This gift drives my energy to push forward the mission of APTH.
Having been a nurse for 26 years, I know the healthcare system well and I know how to navigate it. Now, I also know how broken the system of mental healthcare is, and I feel a responsibility to at least try to make some changes. My ideas:
Problem: Very few therapists accept health insurance.
Idea: Draft legislation demanding the insurance industry and the providers of mental health therapy come together to agree upon a mutually acceptable reimbursement schedule with clear-cut guidelines for diagnosis (using standard scales for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, etc as acceptable diagnostic tools).
Encourage providers to participate with insurance providers with government incentives
Problem: There are not enough psychiatrists to meet the demand for service in many areas.
Idea: Tap into the Nurse Practitioner market, offering student loan forgiveness to new practitioners in exchange for a 2-3 year commitment in outpatient psychiatry. Many states allow NP’s to practice independently and have prescriptive privileges. These providers would undergo additional training in the field of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment modalities and be certified. They could take on the mild to moderate cases, freeing up appointment slots for psychiatrists to handle the more severe cases. I would like to see a mental health NP in every primary care and pediatric practice to do the initial screening and care plan.
Problem: Pressure on our students has gotten out of control and the expectation to attend college is a given.
Idea: Bring apprenticeship and gap year options to students as a viable option following high school. Teach them the skills they need to function such as money management, social skills, laundry, time management, etc. Allow students to explore career options in a non-threatening, stress-free, and fun experience. (My friend, Tara Elinsky has a great idea for this concept that she is working on and I will be sure to let you know what her plans are….Go, Tara!!)
Problem: Not every child with mild anxiety or depression needs intensive or even traditional therapy, and therapy is expensive!
Idea: Expand programs like Locust Lane Riding Center’s model, (www.locustlaneridingcenter.org) to teach kids how to form connected relationships which may help to stave off the mental health issues that come from the isolation our children experience due to the prevalence of social media (don’t get me started on that).
That’s all I have for now, but the ideas keep coming and I will keep sharing until they’re heard and implemented. Please feel free to share this website or this post to get my ideas out there. I appreciate your time.