"The Civil Rights Movement of this decade is Mental Health Care quality and equality."
-- Updated January 2, 2013 --


    MentalHealthActivist.org™ is a division of DearShrink.com™. DearShrink is an Internet Mental Health Center hosted by Ron Sterling, M.D., a General Psychiatrist who now specializes in Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis and treatment.

    Dr. Sterling no longer provides any older adult (geriatric) mental health services related to dementia evaluations or treatment at his office or at homes, assisted living or long-term care facilities. He has opted out of Medicare and any other professional services that he may provide to Medicare-eligible clients will require them to sign a Medicare Private Contract form.

    The mission of MentalHealthActivist.org was to provide alerts and links to news, articles, legislators, legislation, organizations and individuals advocating for improved health care. However . . .

    Please note we have not updated most of our pages since 2006. Some of the information and links are still relevant and useful, but, obviously we are not even close to up-to-date. Hopefully, in 2013, we will be able to spend the time to update and keep current our content.

    So, what have we been doing for seven years? Dr. Sterling has been working on several other projects targeted at spreading the truth about major depressive disorder and adult attention deficit disorder. It has not been easy, but one project has been completed -- see AdultADDFacts.com.

    In that regard, it should be noted that the declaration at the top of these pages that "The Civil Rights Movement of this decade is Mental Health Care quality and equality" was referring to the years 2000-2010. Here we are, in the United States, in the year 2013, and that goal is as far from being obtained as it was in the year 2000. Keep the faith, if you can. I have, but, I am moving on, for now, to a more targeted mission with respect to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and how embedded, misdiagnosed, and untreated it is.

    Best wishes for 2013!

      The Highest Priority for King County.

    King County, through an extraordinary collaboration between government, treatment providers and criminal justice, has developed a comprehensive action plan called the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Action Plan.

    In 2005, the Washington State Legislature created an option for counties to raise their local sales tax by 0.1 percent to augment funding for mental health and chemical dependency services and therapeutic courts. Seven counties - Spokane, Jefferson, Skagit, Clallam, Clark, Okanogan and Island - have implemented the sales tax increase, with several others considering action.

    For King County, this sales tax increase would yield approximately $48 million annually. An extensive exploration of the possibility of utilizing the tax option began with passage of King County Council Motion 12320, which culminated in the three-part Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Action Plan. To read more about the plan, please visit the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Action Plan Web page

    The tax was passed by the King County Council on November 13, 2007.

      Shame on Washington State!

    In the last ten years, Washington State has almost completely abandoned non-Medicaid mental health and chemical dependency services. In Dr. Sterling's opinion, this is an example of the Washington State abandoning its constitutional obligation to insure safety, security and public health services to its residents. Instead, the state has kicked the can down the road to the counties.

    Enacting and appropriately spending the proceeds of a 0.1 percent sales tax (1 cent per $10 or about $25 per family per year) will allow King County to reap huge cost savings in the long run, by allowing appropriate treatment and diversion programs for people who currently cost us much more due to non-treatment recidivism and emergency services.

      Mental Health Parity Law Watch -- Federal.

    On September 18, 2007, the U.S. Senate passed S. 558, the "Mental Health Parity Act of 2007," by a unanimous vote. That bill will ensure that Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance and their families receive mental health care coverage at the same level as coverage for general health problems, including outpatient visits, copayments, and deductibles. The bill's chief sponsors are Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), and Michael Enzi (R-WY). Read more at NAMI.org or at AAGP.org.

      Mental Health Parity Law Watch -- Washington State.

    Washington State just passed a mental health parity law after eight years of hard work to get it through the legislature. But, guess what? It can be undermined in a flash by the U.S. Congress or by new legislation in Washington State.

    Good News! S. 1955 is blocked by the U.S. Senate! Please see the Medical News Today article posted May 17, 2006 -- Senate Democrats Block Cloture Motion On Association Health Plan Bill; Measure Now Stalled -- for all the details on a bill that could have destroyed each state's rights to legislate regarding health insurance coverage and would have destroyed all the mental health insurance parity laws that exist in many states.

      Washington State Receives a Grade of "D" from NAMI.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) issued its first set of grades for mental health care in the United States on March 1, 2006. Washington State received a "D." To read more about this grade and the grades for our nation and other states, please see the following links.

      The 2007 Washington State Legislature.

      Seattle Weekly Spotlights Dismal Performance of Washington State.

      Washington State Mental Health Transformation Work Group.

    On December 9, 2005, the 32 members of the Transformation Work Group met in Olympia for the first time. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the grant and an orientation to this collaborative initiative. Please check the Mental Health Transformation Project Web page for more information.

      A Few Words About this Mental Health Activist Web Site.

    Dr. Sterling was a member of the King County Mental Health Advisory Board (KCMHAB) in Washington State from 2000 through 2007. He was Chair of the Board from 2004-2006. If you are a resident of King County, Washington, please consider becoming a member of the Advisory Board. The Board needs new members who are or have been consumers of public mental health services. This is an opportunity to shape the focus of treatment services and to advocate for better access and quality of care. Please visit the Board Recruitment Web page for more information.

    Dr. Sterling is also a member of the , the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) through the Greater Seattle Chapter, and a member of the National Mental Health Association.

    This Web site is an outgrowth of Dr. Sterling's commitment to behavioral health care public policy.

    MentalHealthActivist.org provides alerts and links to news, articles, legislators, legislation, organizations and individuals advocating for improved health care. Please go to Dr. Sterling's Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Statement for more information about Dr. Sterling's potential biases.

    Please note that many of the links to archived newspaper articles will require you to register to view the content. It is usually free, does not take much time, and it is worth the effort. You will also find links to .pdf Adobe Acrobat Documents. If you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader, please go to the Adobe Acrobat Reader Web site to download the free and very useful software.

      Are You Looking for Support Groups?

    Please go to our Support Resources Web page to find links to a variety of support groups related to social services.

      New -- Donations Page!

    Please go to our Donations Page to learn how you can make donations to help support the mission of MentalHealthActivist.org and its affiliated Web sites to provide useful and professional mental health information.

    Dr. Sterling has chosen to allow visitors to MentalHealthActivist.org to make donations to support this site rather than soliciting advertisers and sponsors. Dr. Sterling desires to provide unbiased information and answers to your questions. He has received positive feedback from users who appreciate that there is no advertising presented on the MentalHealthActivist.org site. Thank you for your kind consideration for donations to support the maintenance and the mission of MentalHealthActivist.org.

    Please go to our Funding Notices to get more information about funding and advertising at MentalHealthActivist.org and its affiliated Web sites.

      Take a Tour of The Mental Health Activist.

    Click the buttons to your left in the Navigation Sidebar to tour the many subject areas at The Mental Health Activist. Check the Site Index for a quick alphabetical listing of pages by subject matter.

    Stay up to date with news, reports and resources in several advocacy areas such as stigma, tort reform, drug costs, the death penalty, criminalization of persons with mental illness, homelessness, the recovery model, jail diversion programs, advisory boards, fundraising efforts, and announcements about rallies by clicking on the Hot News Button to your left.

      Thank You for Stopping By!

        - Best wishes, Ron Sterling M.D. (Seattle, Washington, USA)

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