We’re already halfway through December, and the holidays are closing in! It’s no secret that this can be a stressful time of year, whether or not one has a mental health condition. People deal with all kinds of expectations, from deciding what gifts to buy, for whom, and how to afford them, to trying to squeeze every party, gathering and event into a packed schedule. You also might be stressed planning a get together of your own, or sorting out some kind of travel.
One of the most popular pieces of advice you hear about dealing with holiday stress is to practice good “self-care.” It seems obvious that people need to take care of themselves, but what does that really mean? This article from Psych Central has a few of the basics included, with tips like “Make a schedule” and “Set boundaries.” It can also be helpful to return to the practices that keep you grounded throughout the rest of the year. There are lots of great articles out there with similar advice, and we encourage you to find them.
In the big picture, however, there’s one simple idea that is at the root of much of the specific advice: perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in the urgency and pressure of the holiday season. The real challenge is to maintain perspective. Whether you cope by taking some time to yourself, sticking to your routine and wellness practices, or making a point to serve others, it’s important to find a way to step back from the pressure and chaos. So if you find yourself irritated, stressed or triggered, try to keep the holidays in perspective, and take a step back and think about the big picture. And remember to breathe!
Despite the holiday season coming around, important news continue to break, with the biggest story of the month to day being the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. We’ve gathered a handful of articles on this significant piece of legislation below. It’s critical that advocates remain connected and engaged, with this new law being enacted, a new administration in Washington, and other potential changes on the horizon in 2017. CAFÉ TAC will continue working to keep you informed. Scroll down for the latest.
The 21st Century Cures Act Set to Impact Mental Health System
Earlier this week President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. This is a large, complex piece of legislation that includes funding for cancer research, changes to the FDA drug and medical device approval process, and money intended to address the opioid addiction epidemic. In terms of mental health, it also includes a number of provisions that had been included in the Mental Health Reform Act and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.
This link goes to the full text of the bill. It’s the best resource for a detailed cataloging of the full legislation:
The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) has a useful breakout out the bill’s provisions here:
This Psych Central article does a good job of enumerating the provisions that relate to mental health:
USA Today also provides an overview of mental health provisions here:
This article from The Hill details some of the objections to the bill raised by advocates:
Mental Health and the ACA
Throughout the campaign season, candidates for the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives discussed the merits of the Affordable Care Act at length. These articles examine how changes to our full repeal of the ACA might impact mental health.
This NY Times opinion piece from a psychiatry professor discusses the potential impact of repeal of the Affordable Care Act for people with mental health conditions, given the ACA’s emphasis on behavioral health parity.
This US News piece examines viewpoints of several legislators and advocates.