Surrounded by mental health and addiction treatment advocates as well as lawmakers from both parties, Governor Lamont signed the “Insurance Parity” bill into law early Monday afternoon. It had passed by a unanimous vote.
“If you have a disease of the brain, yo will no longer be treated any differently than somebody with a disease of the body. Those days are over. We have ended discrimination,” said Rep. Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford).
Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield adding, “During the Sandy Hook hearings we heard from so many residents in the state who were just pleading for help for their family members because they couldn’t get services.”
One estimate is that one in four Connecticut residents suffer some form of mental or addiction illness, or both. The State Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services says over 100,000 residents sought their help last year.
At the bill signing, Governor Lamont saying, “Mental health is physical health and if you don’t have the stability and the counseling and the support yo need your physical deterioration accelerates.”
Former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy, a long time mental health advocate also attended today’s bill signing and said, “Addiction and mental illness, overdose and suicide represent and existential crisis to our country right now.”
Ann Dagle of East Lyme lost her 19-year-old son to suicide almost eight years ago and now works with those needing help.(brianshealinghearts.org)
Ann saying, “My son didn’t show signs of mental illness that he thought he could share so I’m hoping this will reduce the stigma and allow us to have a conversation about mental health and how it’s the same as any other physical health.”
A spokesperson for the insurance industry here in Connecticut says they were happy to help develop this new law. Advocates say it’s a big step but doesn’t go far enough and they will be pushing next year to expand what’s
covered, including prescriptions.