Treat mental illness as the physical issue it is

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Marie Waldron
Marie Waldron. Valley News/Courtesy photo
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Special to Valley News A major side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is the immense impact on California’s mental health and substance use. Over 22,000 overdoses and suicides are projected to result from forced isolation and rising unemployment. Parity means substance abuse and mental illness needs to be treated as physical health. Ninety percent of those with substance use disorders, and almost 60% of mentally ill adults go untreated. California’s 21-year old Mental Health Parity Act increased access to treatment by requiring insurers to cover medically necessary services. Though the act was a big step forward, the law has become inadequate, loopholes exist and an update is necessary. Senate Bill 855, which I am co-writing with Sen. Scott Wie
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