Mentally Ill Americans Not Being Vaccinated, Plus Documentary Questioning If Community Care Is Enough?

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(4-23-21)  Three items worth your time.

  1. Two national mental health advocates warn that Americans with serious mental illnesses are not getting vaccinated and a “schizophrenia diagnosis is the second largest predictor of mortality from COVID-19, after age.”
  2. Arlington Va. advocates gain an ally in pushing for Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for those with early episode psychosis (or First Episode Psychosis).
  3. “If you tried, you couldn’t create a worst mental health system than what we have today,” claims Dr. Steve Seager in a powerful documentary that shows how our rush to close state hospitals has increased incarceration, homelessness, deaths and the abandoning of 350,000 on our streets. Featured in this film, which I missed when it was first released, are frequent guest bloggers on my page – Laura Pogliano, Teresa Pasquini, Susan Inman and the late D. J. Jaffe.

We need a national vaccination strategy for people with severe mental illness (OP Ed published in The Hill)

An editorial co-written by Lisa Dailey, acting executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, and Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America.

COVID-19 and our nation’s response to it magnifies a sad truth: We have ignored our fellow citizens with severe mental illness.

When we ignore those citizens, we’re leaving behind people with many more barriers to vaccination than the average person. Studies show those living with serious mental illness experience a lack of knowledge and awareness about immunization, a lack of accessibility, a cost barrier, fears about immunization and often no recommendation to receive an immunization from a primary care provider.

Only 25 percent of adults with severe mental illness receive the annual flu vaccine, compared to almost 50 percent of adults in the general population. Without a strategically designed vaccination program able to bring the vaccine to people with serious mental illness, potentially preventable deaths will occur from COVID-19.

According to a bombshell report published in JAMA Psychiatry this January, a schizophrenia diagnosis is the second largest predictor of mortality from COVID-19, after age. Based on this alarming finding, leading scientific experts agree we must minimize the barriers to vaccination and maximize access to vaccines for people with severe mental illness. Continue reading here. 

Arlington Should Offer Evidence-Based Treatment for Young Adults with Severe Mental Illness

By Peter Rousselot in ARL Now.

…One highly effective program is Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for those with early episode psychosis (or First Episode Psychosis), a program based on extensive research with positive outcomes sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

In Northern Virginia, all of the localities except Arlington offer this evidence-based CSC model for teens and young adults experiencing early-episode psychosis. Arlington offers elements of this program, but it does not offer them in a way that adheres to the model and is intensive enough to effectively treat the most severely ill teens and young adults with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders. Continue reading here.

Shattered Families: Collapse of our Mental Health System

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.