( Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
This past July, Black Girls Smile Inc.’s Founder and Executive Director, Lauren Carson, had the honor to visit our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to watch President Biden speak on how the administration is working on expanding mental health care access for millions of people. Far too many cannot access mental health care resources because of a lack of medical care coverage, health care policies that do not cover mental health services, or because they can not afford the costs of seeking assistance outside their medical insurer health plans. Evident from the event, this appears to be the story of many.
With the onslaught of the pandemic, the amount of people needing or seeking mental health care services has increased. Specifically, there has been a rise in youth experiencing feelings of isolation, fear, and anxiety–with young Black girls exhibiting higher rates of suicidal ideation. At the event, story after story expressed how expanding coverage for mental health care services can save their family and loved one’s lives. President Biden spoke about the importance of transforming policies to ensure access to mental health care resources and services equity.
These changes would include:
Requiring health care insurers to perform outcome-based analysis on their health plans and make adjustments when they identify failings under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) to include providing more mental health providers or reducing administrative challenges to attain mental health care.
Promoting more transparency with what health plans can and cannot cover.
Addressing vulnerabilities in health plans to provide consumer protections that comply with MHPAEA.
Implementing these measures will help young Black women and girls like those that Black Girls Smile serves.
“I’m pleased that President Biden and his administration are taking active policy actions to address the mental health crisis we are experiencing. Too often, those in our community don’t seek mental health care because of the expense or the challenges faced with navigating the health insurance system. With these adjustments to policy, more people will be able to seek the services–in some cases–they desperately need. I was proud to be able to witness this moment,” expressed Carson.
See the entire event here.
Learn more about President Biden’s efforts to promote mental health care equity here.