American Psychiatric Nurses Association Calls for Proactive Health Care Policies to Ease Burden of Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders in New Position Paper
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association today issued a position paper which highlights the need for inclusion of mental health and substance use services in policies promoting a healthy nation.
In the midst of the ongoing health care debate, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) today issued a position statement which emphasizes the importance of weaving provisions for mental health and substance use disorder services throughout the health care system in order to drive down costs, produce better outcomes, and encourage a healthier more productive society. APNA’s stance is that whole health begins with mental health. APNA stands ready to provide expert guidance on how policies related to mental health and substance use care can improve the overall wellness and productivity of the nation.
"With this position paper, we take the stance that implementing proactive policies with a mental health-first approach will improve overall health across the board and support productive and flourishing communities."
“Mental health and substance use problems are too often neglected or an afterthought in the health care debate,” says APNA President Kris A. McLoughlin, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN. “With this position paper, we take the stance that implementing proactive policies with a mental health-first approach will improve overall health across the board and support productive and flourishing communities.”
Currently, approximately 56 million American adults experience a mental illness and/or substance use disorder in a given year1, one third of Medicaid recipients have a mental health or substance use disorder2, and persons living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years sooner than the rest of the American population in large part due to treatable medical conditions3.
Ample scientific evidence links a person’s mental condition and their long-term physical health and overall wellness. For example, addressing mental illness has been shown to reduce health care costs and improve survival outcomes associated with noncommunicable diseases.4 Nevertheless, the gap between the manifestation of symptoms of mental health conditions and first intervention averages a decade.5
According to APNA’s position statement, this shows “that mental health promotion, through prevention, recognition and early adequate care and treatment, must be at the starting point of and comprehensively woven throughout the delivery of services within the American health care system.” In order to accomplish this, APNA recommends that systems be restructured, all health care providers have facility with mental health and substance use screenings, and national state and local policies ensure universal access to services from qualified health care professionals that promote mental health, prevent mental illness and substance use disorders, and offer care and treatment as necessary.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric-mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
- Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
- Japsen, Bruce (March 6, 2017). House GOP Obamacare replacement hurts mental health, Republican Senators say. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/03/06/house-gop-obamacare-replacement-hurts-mental-health-republican-senators-say/#339b29532b54
- Parks, J., Svendsen, D., Singer, P., Foti, M. E., & Mauer, B. (2006). Morbidity and mortality in people with serious mental illness. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Medical Directors Council, 25.
- Kolappa, K., Henderson, D. C., & Kishore, S. P. (2013). No physical health without mental health: lessons unlearned?. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 91(1), 3-3a.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (n.d.). Mental Health Screening. Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Public-Policy/Mental-Health-Screening