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Advocacy Opportunity: Mental Health Parity Bill

3/25/2022



Rev. Brian Tillman, our Conference Director of Inclusion and Advocacy, sent the following letter to members of our Common Table today. All North Georgia United Methodists are invited to learn more about the bipartisan Mental Health Parity Bill and how to advocate on behalf of this legislation.

Hello, Members of the Common Table,
 
I am writing to you quickly with a time-sensitive ask. As you know, your work in developing the areas of focus for the Conference concluded with 5 areas being identified. Two of those areas included community engagement and health and wellness for churches and communities. This is why I’m reaching out to you right now.
 
On Monday, March 28, 2022, there will be a vote in the state senate about a bill that has bipartisan support on a non-partisan issue. It is HB 1013 the Mental Health Parity Bill. Passage of this bill would require health insurers of all sorts to follow federal law (the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008) in that they must provide meaningful coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders and a host of other positive and meaningful provisions.
 
We were alerted to challenges in the bill from some of our partners like Wellroot, Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center, and Voices for Georgia’s Children. The bill is non-partisan and has had bipartisan support. However, this week it has faced opposition and needs to make it out of Senate Health and Human Services Committee and onto the Senate floor for passage. The House passed this bill with overwhelming support in a vote of 169-3.
 
If this bill is not passed, the current outcomes faced throughout the state will continue. 41% of children ages 3-17 struggle to or are unable to receive mental health support. In Georgia, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in children. Yet, 78 counties do not have a licensed psychologist, 53 counties do not have a licensed social worker, and 45 counties do not have either one.
 
I am prayerful that you will take 5 minutes today to help by calling 2 to 3 members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and your own state senator to support this bill before Monday’s vote. I am attaching a few documents for you to look over to be informed about the bill and its implications as well as a script you can use when calling the senators along with their phone numbers. You may also use the link below to find your own senator no matter where you live in the state.

Link to access your elected officials:  
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” 

-Rev. Brian A. Tillman
Director, Inclusion and Advocacy
North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church

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