For Immediate Release
Roundtable: Mental Health Raises its Voice
(Naperville, IL, Oct. 25, 2017) – For generations, mental illness has been shrouded in shame.
A quiet stigma is associated with mental health issues. The issues aren’t as easy to diagnose, treat, and properly insure as their physical health counterparts, but the symptoms are just as real.
“Many medical professionals, governmental agencies, and insurance experts are involved in mental health treatment, but we’re often working independent of one another,” said Dr. Laura Bokar, CEO and President of Fox Valley Institute in Naperville. “We recently hosted a roundtable to discuss the chasms that exist between the various entities and how to bridge those differences in order to start the conversation and improve the health of our communities.”
The roundtable, held at Fox Valley Institute’s Naperville office, included politicians, first responders, insurance, legal and mental health professionals. Several attendees shared personal experiences with mental illness, suicides, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) within their own families and communities. These experiences opened eyes to the need for greater mental health initiatives.
They all have stories and they were at the roundtable to discuss solutions that aren’t quick reactions to a specific tragedy, but rather offer sustainable outcomes. Congressman Bill Foster, D-Ill., a former Fermilab scientist, commented on how there is now 50 years of evidence-based treatment that can be used to write legislation that can address treatment, long-term care, funding, and address societal “taboos” that are associated with mental health care. “On a federal level, our responsibilities are to fund research and treatment.”
Funding, insurance coverage, and legislation were the most talked about topics, but other topics like telehealth, portability, early detection, treatment, continuity of treatment, first responder training, and the goal of creating jobs by making sure legislation includes all mental health professionals also were discussed.
Many participants agreed that although medical insurance companies have included mental health coverage in their policies, reimbursement rates are considerably lower than their physical health counterparts.
“This was educational and informative, more importantly, we started the conversation. We are all staying in touch and working toward effective policies and treatments to improve the mental health of families, neighbors, and our communities,” said Bokar, who indicated two roundtables are being planned for 2018.
Besides Bokar and Foster, this inaugural roundtable included: Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, state Sen. Michael Connelly, DuPage County Board member Col. Kevin Wiley, Dr. David Norton, Colin Dalough of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Francesca Giordano, Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall, former Naperville Mayor George Pradel, retired Hon. Chief Judge Judith Brawka, Dr. Christine McGrath, Joe Inserro, Maureen Juhas who represented state Rep. Grant Wehrli, Dr. Aaron Weiner, Tatiana Sifri, Chuck Bokar, and Craig Genteman.
About Fox Valley Institute
Fox Valley Institute has provided careful assessment, support and high-quality counseling services for almost 20 years and is comprised of a team of 25 licensed professional therapists and dedicated individuals offering psychiatry, psychological testing, and individual, children, adolescent, marriage, family, and group counseling services. The recipient of numerous business and professional awards, Fox Valley Institute is located at 640 N. River Road, Suite 108, Naperville. For more information, call 630.718.0717 ext. 214.
Dr. Laura Bokar of Fox Valley Institute discusses mental health treatment to a panel of lawmakers, including from left, Maureen Juhas from state Rep. Grant Wehrli’s office; DuPage County board member Col. Kevin Wiley Congressman Bill Foster, state Sen. Michael Connelly and Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico.
Participants at the inaugural roundtable to discuss legislative, community and professional initiatives centering around mental health.