DBSA Advocates for Peer Support Funding

While Congress is not scheduled to return to D.C. until April 20, work on a fourth COVID legislative package is well underway. The first three packages sought to bring economic relief to those experiencing financial distress, including paid sick leave and expanded unemployment insurance to many Americans. However, with the exception of a waiver to cover tele-health for Medicare/Medicaid and $425 million for a range of SAMHSA programs, the legislation has been silent on addressing mental health needs.

Meanwhile in our communities, DBSA chapter affiliates are doing a heroic job transitioning to virtual meetings, and DBSA national is opening more online meetings. In spite of these efforts, access is not keeping pace with the demand. In the past several weeks registrations for the DBSA portfolio of online meetings has doubled and the wait list has grown 166%.

To address this disparity, DBSA sent a letter to Congressional leaders on April 6 outlining the hardship physical distancing has on people living with mood disorders and asked for funding to shore up the local chapters and enable DBSA national to provide more online support groups. Click here to read the letter.

We also circulated a letter asking members of the Mental Health Liaison Group — a national coalition of behavioral health advocacy organizations -to join us in signing a letter to Congressional leaders. As a result of our leadership, 28 national mental health organizations have joined with DBSA asking Congress to fund peer support during this national crisis.

Now it’s your turn to act. In the next few days, we will send an action alert to your email box. This alert will provide you with simple instructions on how you can make your voice heard. Our collective efforts can make a difference. Please keep an eye out for the email and take a few minutes to send your U.S. Senator and Representative asking them to fund peer support.

Please forward to colleagues, family, and friends to assist us in this grassroots effort to make our voice heard.

To continue to receive communications about issues that support access to quality mental health care,

Join Our Movement

Peer Councils Amplify the Peer Voice

DBSA presents many opportunities for peers to amplify their voices. One example of this is the development of peer councils. Peer councils are groups of individuals with a lived experience with a mood disorder who share first-person insights and provide feedback to interested organizations such as clinician groups, third party payers, government agencies, or medical product developers. Medical product developers often reach out to DBSA requesting peer councils to help them understand what matters most to peers, including delivery and development of improved mental health treatment options. Topics for peer discussion may include:

  • Clinical research and development planning;
  • Insights on the use of digital technology; and
  • Alternative treatment awareness and marketing.

Some practical implications for such peer councils may be to help our partners to better engage with other peers who choose to participate in research or to better understand the long-term treatment outcomes desired by peers in recovery/wellness. Sometimes separate caregiver councils are convened to gain understanding of their needs.

Sometimes these councils convene in-person or over the phone, but often they meet via video chat. Even without the current health concerns, that platform gives DBSA the opportunity to convene groups from across the country while still seeing and engaging with other participants. Participants are often compensated for their time.

Examples of peer council opportunities DBSA has provided include:

  • Providing feedback to medical product developers;
  • Offering insights on the lived experience to academia;
  • Sharing your lived experiences at conferences and workshops; and
  • Contacting state and federal lawmakers.

If you would like to be a member of a future peer council, be sure to register with us at www.dbsalliance.org/takeaction.  We send emails to those who are registered that include a few questions to ensure a good match between the organization requesting the peer council and the peers willing to serve.

Please forward to colleagues, family, and friends to assist us in this grassroots effort to make our voice heard.

To continue to receive communications about issues that support access to quality mental health care,

Join Our Movement

Supporting your recovery during the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 Resources