July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Allsup offers free poster to promote observance, stresses importance of treatment when applying for Social Security disability benefits
Belleville, Ill.—July 5, 2013—In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives proclaimed July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM). Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and veterans disability appeals representation, is offering free poster downloads to promote the observance, which highlights the need for improved access to mental health services among minorities.
The stigma associated with mental illness is often a barrier to treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), levels of stigma associated with mental health conditions are much higher in multicultural communities.
“Stigma affects everyone,” said NAMI board member Clarence Jordan. “But stigma has a greater impact in communities of color. “
Jordan added that NMMHAM helps start conversations about mental illness within diverse communities. “There is still a great lack of awareness of what mental illnesses are and what one can do to recover,” said Jordan. “It [NMMHAM] takes it to churches, hits the airwaves; there are articles in the paper that people will read.”
Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in the U.S., and medical documentation from mental health professionals is essential when applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSDI. The Social Security Administration administers both programs.
The SSI program is based on financial need established by income and assets requirements. It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income.
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance funded by FICA payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. SSDI provides monthly income to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal.
Social Security relies on medical diagnoses and details about doctor visits, medical facilities used, medications and their side effects, as well as information on the restrictions and limitations resulting from the mental illness. If a person is denied at the initial application level, he or she has 60 days to file a disability appeal. Most first appeals (88 percent) are denied. An individual can appeal a second time, which is also called the hearing level. At both appeal levels, updated medical documentation from a mental health provider and information about treatment is essential.
Take Part in National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Individuals can pledge to promote mental health treatment in diverse communities and take care of their personal mental, emotional and behavioral well-being by visiting NAMI’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth.
To download a Minority Mental Health Awareness poster, visit AllsupCares.com and click on the “Request Materials” tab.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.