National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Facts on Access to Medications for People
with Depressive, Bipolar and Anxiety Illnesses

Using the Resource Guide

As a NAMI leader, it is important to be thoroughly prepared for discussions on medications for the treatment of mood disorders.  Debate and research on atypical antipsychotics has captured a great amount of recent attention, but the need for paying closer attention to access restrictions is equally warranted for mood disorder medications.  Additional items influencing the debate on these medications are the availabilty of generic medications within the newer classes and recent media and regulatory attention on use of anti-depressants with children and adolescents.

This document is a useful tool for multiple settings.  NAMI leaders are encouraged to consider the following approaches to achieve success with this resource.

  • First, review the contents personally.  Share the information with your state board, policy committee members, and affiliate leaders.
  • Develop a distribution strategy for your state.  NAMI has been able to provide you a substantial number of copies of this resource.  It is important that they end up in the hands of people who make decisions on these important topics.
  • Schedule an appointment with your local legislator and review the guide.  Remember that your legislator may be newly elected and may need extensive education on the complexity of policy related to the treatment of mental illness.  Ask the legislator to commit to opposing any legislative attempt to restrict access to mood disorder medications. 
  • Share the resource guide with organizations that partner with NAMI in pursuit of legislative and policy goals.
  • Work with Medicaid officials (cabinet secretaries, Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee members, direcotrs of pharmacy, etc.) to gain their support for preserving access to medications for the treatment of mood disorders.  It is likely that your state has restricted access already, so ask the decision makers to reconsider their strategy.  If your state has not pursued restrictive access strategies, thank them for choosing not to go that route and encourage them to continue their support for access.
  • If your state is contemplating action to restrict access to medications, share these resource guides as backgrounders for local media representatives.

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