Our First Year At A Glance
A year ago, we announced the launch of a new mental health advocacy organization called Inseparable with a simple but mighty vision: an America where mental health, no longer an afterthought, helps our country to heal and thrive. Today, Inseparable is officially one year old and we wanted to share an update with you about the journey we’ve been on and where we’re headed.
As you can imagine, launching a new mental health organization in the midst of a global pandemic that has magnified and exacerbated our country’s ongoing mental health crisis has been busy, challenging, and rewarding. Although we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, the mental health and addiction crisis left in its wake continues to grow, making our work even more urgent.
♦ Our Agenda
One of the first things we finalized in early 2021 was our agenda. We had extensive conversations with our Advisory Board and our partners in the mental health field in order to solidify our three priorities for 2021 and beyond: increasing access to life-saving care by closing the treatment gap, investing in prevention and early intervention in schools, and ending the criminalization of mental illness and addiction. You can read more about our priorities on our website here.
♦ Personnel is Policy
We’ve seen enormous success with our Personnel is Policy campaign, our initiative to identify and support mental health champions to be selected for leadership positions in the Biden Administration. The Senate has confirmed several mental health champions including Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General, Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, Xavier Becerra as Secretary of HHS, and Andrea Palm as Deputy Secretary of HHS. We are also thrilled by the nominations of Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon for SAMHSA Assistant Secretary and Chiquita Brooks LaSure for Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and hope to see them confirmed very soon. We’ve been working behind the scenes to drive efforts to support these nominees’ confirmations through organizing sign-on letters of support, social media campaigns, and organizing other allied groups to support as needed.
♦ Health Is Health Illinois
We’ve joined forces with The Kennedy Forum Illinois to launch Health Is Health Illinois, a campaign to pass parity legislation in the state of Illinois. This is based on a model parity law we helped pass in California last year. We’ve retained a lobbyist and in-state campaign manager who have been building co-sponsorships and engaging with the governor’s office. The House bill advanced unanimously and last night the Senate Insurance committee voted 12-0 in favor. Springfield is a political rollercoaster, but we are well positioned and pleased to be adding real value to the coalition.
- Establish a clear definition and standards for when services and treatment qualify as medically necessary;
- Require insurers to rely on the transparent, publicly available guidelines;
- Require insurers to cover all medically necessary mental health and substance use disorder care; and
- Encourage compliance with Illinois’ parity law.
♦ The Upswing Fund
In late March, Inseparable was announced as a Grant Awardee of The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health for our school-based mental health campaign.
The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, which was started by Melinda French Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, provides timely resources to organizations that focus on the mental health and well-being of adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+ in the United States — populations that face urgent needs but too often lack access to the care they need. View the announcement video, along with a complete list of grant recipients here. In addition to the financial support, it’s a great validator for us as we work to expand our network, as only 20% of the applicants were funded.
♦ Inseparable in the News
Below is a roundup of the media coverage from the last few months – thanks to our Advisory Board for lending their expertise and representing Inseparable so well! The first link below is an op ed published in early April outlining our new priorities.
- Three Steps That Biden Can Take to Protect Our Minds– Bill’s op-ed in The Hill calling on President Biden and Congress to act on Inseparable priorities.
- ‘Interest to Impact’ – Bill’s podcast interview with Nick MacPhee on Inseparable’s priorities and how philanthropy can help build a mental health movement.
- How Long It Might Take to Mentally Recover From The COVID-19 Pandemic – An interview with Advisory Board member Sejal Hathi for HuffPost discussing mental health recovery post-pandemic.
- Mental Health Nonprofit Slams Will Forte Suicide Drama as ‘Wildly Irresponsible and Callous’ – Variety’s exclusive interview with Bill about the dangers of ‘Expiration Date’ which gained widespread media coverage.
- Robin Williams’ Son Zak Denounces Peacock’s Planned Suicide Drama ‘Expiration Date’ (Guest Blog) – Bill and Zak’s follow up op-ed in TheWrap about suicide contagion in entertainment.
- My Care Village: Slowing the COVID-19 Second Wave – An interview with Bill and Advisory Board member Shelley Hearne and UPIC Health CEO, Mary Tucker, for My Care Village discussing the impact COVID has had on America’s mental health and ways to improve the current lacking public health system.
- Finding real sanity in our crisis response – Bill’s op-ed for New York Daily News
- Bill’s recent interview for the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ podcast to talk about Inseparable.
- Katie Couric’s Medium post “Mental Health Care Advocates Are Drawing on Lessons From Marriage Equality” (18 Jun 2020)
- MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes with Founder Bill Smith (29 May 2020)