We at the Oregon Counseling Association want to express our deepest condolences to the community, families and friends of those killed in these horrendous shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
As we move through the devastation of gun violence in our nation once again, it is inevitable that mental health and issues of access to mental health care will be drawn into the conversation. Often mental health is represented as the largest cause of such violence, when it is in fact often driven by racism, fear and hate. This violence has its roots in white nationalism and the divisiveness of white supremacy--not mental illness.
As mental health professionals, we cannot stand by and allow this to be misrepresented as an issue of mental health. We believe that it is important, especially in times of overwhelming tragedy, that we advocate for those with mental health needs. Individuals with mental illness cannot continue to be the scapegoat for these kinds of hateful acts. The characterization of this violence as a mental health issue will only further stigmatize mental health care and further discourage those who need resources to seek them out. While we recognize that there is a small percentage of violence that stems from issues of mental health, these were deliberate acts of hate and divisiveness. We are clear on where we stand. We must speak out against hate and stand in our determination to advocate for equity and justice.
One of our greatest strengths as a nation is our ability to unite in ways that show our hearts, our strengths, and our deep capacity for compassion. This requires us to have deep conversations about the reality of our country and the misinformation and fear that continues to drive the conversation around gun violence, immigration and terrorism. Such conversations require vulnerability, openness and a willingness to come to the table to discuss how to heal and create change. They require honesty about the roots of racism, white supremacy and fear. They require our best efforts in moving forward. We must take the values that help us in this field out into the world.
The Oregon Counseling Association seeks to support the communities impacted by these horrendous acts of hate and gun violence. For anyone affected by gun violence- we encourage you to seek help. The following resources are available:
Sincerely, on behalf of the ORCA board,
Alana Ogilvie, president
2019 OREGON LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Do you ever get confused when you hear all the policy and legal talk around counseling and therapy? What does reading a bill even mean or what do we look for? What happens afterward? What are all these acronyms?
Click here for a helpful sheet to welcome you to the world of mental health policy and working with COPACT, the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy.
The Oregon Counseling Association, in partnership with the American Counseling Association and a host of partner organizations, is urging our members to contact Oregon's federal delegation to support the Federal Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 945) and Senate (S.286).
This important legislation will include licensed professional counselors (LPCs) as covered Medicare providers. Medicare currently does not include licensed professional counselors in its coverage. Even though Medicare beneficiaries are often at higher risk for mental health problems, such as depression and opioid addiction, yet older Americans are the least likely to receive mental health services.
Medicaid recipients can see an LPC and Medicaid will cover them-until they reach 65. Many individuals with private health insurance have mental health coverage but, once they retire, find that they can no longer afford to see an LPC. The passage of this legislation will enable Medicare to help the 4 out 5 seniors currently not receiving much-needed mental health care.
The Oregon Counseling Association is committed to professional advocacy for mental health counselors and our clients. Your membership dues directly fund these efforts via the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy (COPACT).
A collaboration between ORCA and the Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT), COPACT works to advance access to quality mental health care for all Oregonians. COPACT supports legislation that promotes and protects our professions and our clients, working on behalf of all LPCs, LMFTs, registered interns, and counseling and MFT students. COPACT's volunteer board and professional lobbyist are our voice in Salem.
For an idea of some of what COPACT's done for our profession, click here. A few highlights: