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Wisconsin NAMI director dispels mental-illness stigmas

Along with the national debate about gun control has come increased discussion about mental health issues. People are right to reconsider how people with mental conditions are diagnosed and treated, but unfortunately widespread discussion of these matters only seems to occur in the wake of a tragedy. Consequently, there is the risk of stigmatizing people with mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, otherwise known as NAMI, is an advocacy group that works to help people with mental illness get diagnosed and treated. Bonnie Loughran serves as the executive director of NAMI's Dane County chapter, and she recently did an insightful interview with The Capital Times in which she stresses the importance of early diagnosis and adequate insurance.

Loughran also addressed the stigma that people with mental conditions are violent. But studies show that mental illness is linked to only 4 percent of violent crime in the U.S., though recent political posturing and media coverage have painted a different picture, says Loughran.

Her own son was diagnosed as bipolar, and he was a recipient of Social Security disability benefits. But with a cost-of-living increase of $21 on his disability check, he lost his Medicaid insurance because his income was too high.

It's a good idea in these situations to consult with an SSDI attorney. Not everyone with a mental illness is unable to work, but for many Wisconsin residents, a mental condition makes work impossible. The process for applying for SSDI benefits can be a long one, and claims are often denied. But that isn't the end of the process. Being aware of your legal options for filing a claim and appealing a denial can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.

Source: The Capital Times, "Q&A: Bonnie Loughran wants to end the stigmas around mental illness," Jessica Vanegeren, Feb. 17, 2013

3 Comments

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