Recognizing Mental Health Month in Indian River County

The Indian River County Board of Commissioners declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.  This year, the Mental Health Association of Indian River County and the Suncoast Mental Health Center are participating in a national campaign, “Risky Business,” to highlight and address habits and behaviors that are indicative of mental illness or that can increase the risk of mental illness.

According to the Mental Health Association of Indian River County:

(We)  “want everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, that recovery is always the goal, and that even if you or someone you love are engaging in risky behavior, there is help. It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more.

We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness and do so in a compassionate, judgment-free way. When we engage in prevention and early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early and provide effective treatment…”

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Unfortunately, mental health services were dealt a blow with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives as they passed Trumpcare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, “AHCA is not the National Council’s vision for health care in America. It takes us back to the days when individuals with mental illness, like depression or anxiety, could be denied coverage. To the days when insurers could stop paying for an individual’s addiction treatment because they reached their lifetime cap. We stand united across party lines with those who see every day the devastating impact of untreated mental illnesses and addictions on our nation.”

Under the AHCA, states could exempt themselves from the ACA provision that requires insurers to offer a minimum set of essential benefits (EHB), such as maternity  and new born care, emergency services, outpatient care, and prescriptions. Essential health benefits specifically require health plans to cover mental health and addiction treatment. By removing the EHB requirement, many health plans may decide not to cover mental health and addition services. Further, the bill weakens parity by allowing large employers to choose minimum benefit requirements from any state—including those who have waived all consumer protections permitted under AHCA—resulting in decreased coverage not just for those on Medicaid or in the individual market, but those in employer-sponsored plans as well.

Democrats working for families and seniors

The Democrats of Indian River County are working to preserve democratic principles and fighting for working families on issues such as health care.  We believe Indian River County seniors and families should not be denied services they earned under the Affordable Care Act.  Trumpcare should not be allowed to take their health care away.  No one should be denied health services if they need them.

Let’s recognize Mental Health Month in Indian River County by joining together to preserve health care for our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and colleagues.

Mental Health Services in Indian River County are offered by:

  • The Mental Health Association of Indian River County’s Walk-In Center located at 820 37th Place, Vero Beach and is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5 pm.  For more information about MHAIRC, visit or call 772.569.9788.
  • Suncoast Mental Health Center, Indian River County Office, 1456 Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach.  For more information visit or call 772.564.8616.