Help reduce teen suicide rates
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My son Jacob was only 15 when he lost his battle with depression and died by suicide. As parents, we tried everything to help him get a handle on his mental health, but faced roadblocks from insurance companies that prevented Jacob from getting the treatment he needed. We believe it may have cost our son his life.
In a two month span, Jacob was hospitalized twice and it was always the same thing: he was put on medication and then he would be released after five days. This is often the experience for teens facing suicidal ideation. But five days is not enough time. Experts say it can often take as long as 6-8 weeks until the therapeutic effects of medications and other treatments are felt. There are also many side effects, especially in teens, with these medications. They can often lead to more suicidal thoughts or other issues, meaning it is all the more important for them to get the type of supervision and care that comes with hospitalization.
With suicide being the 2nd leading cause of death for teens in the US, and the benefits of longer hospitalization so clear, why are so many hospitals keeping kids like Jacob hospitalized for such a short period? Insurance companies, not doctors and nurses, are determining how long they can stay.
New York has one of the lowest suicide rates in the country in part because of Timothy’s Law. The law prevents insurance companies from limiting coverage for mental illness, allowing people to be hospitalized as long as needed. I want to bring the same reforms to the state of Arizona where we live, and our son took his life.
Please join me in asking the Arizona legislature and governor to pass legislation requiring insurance companies to cover stays of 60-90 days for teens that are hospitalized for suicidal ideation/depression and put on medication, or have had a change in their meds. We owe it to our youth to protect them, and make sure it is the doctors and nurses making decisions for our kids, not the insurance companies.
Tell Arizona to put our kids first! The more states that do so, the fewer families that will have to feel the pain of losing a child to suicide.
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