Help Pass the Mental Health Reform Act

Help Pass the Mental Health Reform Act

Making a difference is as simple as a tweet.

I know the cool thing to do on the Internet nowadays is bash 2016 and say it's been a bad year for our government, but it hasn't been ALL bad. In fact, in the world of mental health policy, 2016 shaped up pretty good. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act passed the House in July, and it helped solve many of the administrative woes people struggling with mental illnesses deal with, including codification of Medicaid coverage for inpatient mental health care, HIPAA education programs, reports and transparency on parity, and grant programs.

The bill was a great step in the right direction, but we can't stop there.

The bill’s counterpart in the Senate, The Mental Health Reform Act (S.2680) still needs to pass this year, and if it doesn't pass both the House AND the Senate soon, the process will start all over, because Congress is about to have a major turnover thanks to the election. If it doesn't pass before the "lame duck" period, all the momentum will be lost, and all the advocacy and voting up to this point will have been for nothing.

1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental health problems, and 73% of Americans say lack of access to mental health care is a problem in our country. This bill will expand access to mental health services, increase suicide prevention efforts in schools, increase the mental health workforce, integrate health and mental health care, strengthen the community crisis response system, and so much more. It would make a positive difference in the lives of 44 million Americans.

There are SO many ways you can help ensure this bill gets through Congress! If you have time, a phone message to your Senator is easy. Dial (202) 224-3121. Press #1 and enter your zip code. It's also easy to write a letter to your Senator's office.

The most college-student friendly way to get involved, however, is as simple as a tweet! Most Senators are on Twitter now. Its how they stay #hip and #turnt. Use a hashtag to help ensure your tweet is seen. Something as simple as "Dear @(Senator’s twitter handle)- I urge you to help support the #MentalHealthReform Act, S.2680" can make a difference, not only in getting the bill passed but also in spreading awareness, as followers of both yourself and your Senator will see you advocating for mental health reform.

I know it seems like Senators ignore these things, but they don't. Believe it or not, most Senators have a heart, and they want to do what their constituents want. Mental health affects so many of us, and this bill will help those who suffer get past all the administratie and legislative hurtles they currently face, not to mention it will increase education and outreach so in the future, less people will have to struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug abuse and more. Senators are meant to represent our voices, so reach out to yours and make sure your voice is heard.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.


Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.


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