Making Mental Health Matter

Article excerpt

Few issues have had the U.S. employee assistance field abuzz in recent years like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The law, which requires that mental health and substance abuse benefits, if offered, be as comprehensive as medical or surgical benefits, was passed in 2008. Other countries have also tackled this issue. For example, in December last year, Argentine law established that public mental health services must provide free treatment for anyone diagnosed with a mental health illness, on par with treatment available for any physical illness.

Yet complexities abound, and three years after the U.S. law was passed, the details and impact of MHPAEA on EA professionals are not clear. Educating both EA practitioners and the general public about key aspects of this legislation is crucial toward ensuring that true parity in mental health AND substance abuse benefits actually becomes a reality. In this issue of the Journal of Employee Assistance, Renee Popovits and Kelly Whelan share their knowledge about this important topic and the challenges we face in understanding its impact on our work, the workplace, and individuals' lives.

The topic of mental health continues as Barbara Bissonnette, who specializes in career development coaching and workplace advocacy for adults with Asperger's, addresses the issue of what EA professionals need to know about the impact of Asperger's Syndrome in the workplace. Asperger's is a form of autism, and autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U. …