By Rep. Steve Mentzer
Working to support people struggling with depression or other mental health conditions, the House recently designated May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in the Commonwealth. Mental illness is not always visible, but it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. This invisibility can make people feel isolated and unable to share their experiences.
Only about half of people impacted by mental illness seek treatment, and too many people struggle in silence. It is important that all Pennsylvanians understand mental illness is a biologically based disorder that requires medical attention.
We have introduced legislation to establish a bill of rights for people with intellectual disabilities or autism to affirm they have the full right to live in their own homes and participate as a full member of their communities and make choices about their lives; legislation to provide student loan for graduates entering the mental health, intellectual disability and drug/alcohol treatment professions; and legislation to require cognitive rehabilitation therapy to be a covered under the Medical Assistance program.