Rainbow Justice

I’m greatly cheered on and I’m proud that the Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. This shouldn’t effect me to the degree it does because I’m a heterosexual.

Yet for some reason it does my heart good to be a participant in democracy at a time when civil rights have been guaranteed to other Americans.

I was 3 years old when Martin Luther King was shot and killed so I had no awareness or involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

As an adult American living here today I’m proud I was able to witness this historic Supreme Court ruling.

In other news the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. The Act isn’t perfect yet it’s a start in the right direction for a number of valid reasons:

It stopped insurers from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition like pregnancy or mental illness.

It enabled young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance coverage until 26 years old.

Think about this: if you were a young person with a diagnosis, you could risk going to work or getting a degree so that you could get a job. You’d have insurance until you were 26 so that you wouldn’t need to collect Medicaid or Medicare which would jeopardize your chance at earning income via a job.

In New York State the Medicaid Buy-In allows individuals with disabilities who work to buy into Medicaid and continue their coverage if they earn less than $44K. $44K was the cut-off if memory serves.

My contention is that the families of the 4 percent of individuals with severe mental illnesses need to use the government to create and uphold laws that facilitate helping our loved ones get the right treatment as soon as they need it.

Re. Tim Murphy has reintroduced the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act and I firmly believe this should be voted into law.

The great cheer I have about legalizing gay marriage is that it was the result of a unified coalition of individuals who rose up to fight injustice TOGETHER. Together a band of citizens used their might to create the law of the land.

Unfortunately, no cohesion exists in the mental health movement. We have endless bickering over whether or not individuals with mental illnesses should take medication or not. And this isn’t the point.

The point is that for those of us who need medication we should be able to get treatment as soon as we need it. Before we commit a crime and are sent to jail. Before our symptoms get so severe that recovery is not possible.

Respect me:respect my right to take medication. Respect the right of every person who experiences mental distress to get the right help as soon as they need it.

No one should have to live one minute longer in pain than they have to. No one should be doomed to becoming actively psychotic for the rest of their life.

Getting the right treatment right away offers the best chance at having a better life.

That’s how I see it.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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