TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips recently introduced a bill (A376) that would require health insurance coverage for annual mental health screenings.
“We all know someone who has suffered with mental illness. With suicide rates on the rise among teenagers, veterans, and seniors, we must do more to eliminate the stigma,” said DePhillips (R-Bergen). “We must also increase awareness of the contributing factors to mental illness, and improve coverage for treatment and services available to those suffering. This legislation is one step in the right direction, and I have plans for other legislation as we enter the new legislative term.”
Like annual physical health exams, annual mental health screenings help identify issues earlier, which leads to better treatment outcomes.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For New Jerseyans aged 15 to 24, it is the second leading cause of death. The national suicide rate has increased by 31 percent since 2001. Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Mental illness affects tens of millions people each year with only about half receiving treatment.