5:30 PM: Reed Says Mental Health Awareness A ‘Priority’ In US

P-J file photo

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which was the focus of Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, telephone conference call with regional media outlets Wednesday.

Reed said, in his opinion, that for many years mental health was not a priority when it comes to overall health care in the country. However, he said the attitude has changed in recent years, with more light, politically and by the health care industry, now shining brighter on issues surrounding mental health.

“Mental health for one of the first times in the nation’s history is a priority,” Reed said. “In my opinion, it was left in the dark, left unattended. There was a ‘Not in my backyard approach.’ I’m glad to say that is a thing of history.”

Reed highlighted his trip last month to Keuka Family Practice Associates located in Bath when he spoke with doctors, social workers and practice team about the behavioral health integration in their practice.

“Not only are they looking at physical health and they also have right there access to mental health providers and coordinators,” Reed said.

Reed — a member of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the House Suicide Prevention Task Force — said both sides of the aisle are in agreement on the need to bring awareness to mental health. He is working with Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, on a marketing campaign with the Patrick Lee Foundation.

“We are coming together in a positive effort by highlighting the need to come together as one country to address mental health needs in our communities,” Reed said.

See tomorrow’s edition of The Post-Journal for complete coverage.