WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 The American Psychological Association recently released free information for consumers to help them understand a new law requiring insurance companies to cover mental and physical health equally. The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity, which passed last year, goes into effect on January 1, 2010. The law is designed to help improve access to appropriate mental health treatment for millions of Americans suffering from mental health disorders. This could include trauma victims suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, teenage girls fighting to survive anorexia or bulimia, new mothers struggling with post-partum depression, children suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and many people struggling with alcohol and substance use problems.
Consumers can read and download the document, "How Does the New Mental Health Parity Law Effect My Insurance Coverage?" at www.apahelpcenter.org. Additionally, the APA Practice Organization is offering a free employer's guide to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act at www.phwa.org, as part of the association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.
More than 57 million Americans suffer from a mental health disorder, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. A 2008 nationwide survey by Harris Interactive in conjunction with the APA found that 25 percent of Americans do not have adequate access to mental health services and 44 percent either do not have mental health coverage or are not sure if they do. Additionally, a 2006 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency reports that 49 percent of U.S. adults with both serious psychological distress and a substance use disorder go without treatment.
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.
SOURCE American Psychological Association