As our nation continues to confront the ramifications of a global pandemic, the stigma around mental health and addiction seems to be dissipating. People are talking, opening up to friends and family, and finally realizing it’s OK to not be OK.
This type of awareness is a major step forward for a nation that saw nearly 72,000 overdose deaths in 2019 and more than 48,000 deaths from suicide in 2018.
But to truly benefit society, increasing awareness must be met with a strong infrastructure of mental health and addiction care to serve Americans’ needs. And that’s just doesn’t exist in most states. People with mental health and substance use disorders are still relegated to a separate and unequal system of care — one with far too few providers; unreliable, limited insurance coverage; and serious roadblocks around every corner.
This doesn’t bode well for a new wave of mental