Christie: school employees will get broader mental health coverage in 2014

All benefits are contingent upon a physician’s review, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Earlier in the week, Christie vetoed a bill (S1253) that not only called for broader mental health coverage for the school employee program, but for the workers in the State Health Benefits Program, as well. The design committee for the state health benefits plan is still deliberating on whether state workers ought to be entitled to the same “mental health parity” coverage, according to the governor’s veto statement. “While well-intended, this bill would limit the role of the design committees,” made up of union officials and the Christie administration, Christie’s veto said. Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), one of the sponsors of the bill, said he was disappointed the design committees have been so slow to make a decision. They were approved in 2011 as part of a sweeping pension and benefits overhaul.
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New mental health care bill to decriminalise suicide

For a youth to be able to learn and develop, and to have a successful school year, is very hard.a The figures really make disturbing reading: Since 2009, the number of children and youth seeking CHEOas help for mental illness has shot up 64 per cent, while outpatient referrals have gone up 76 per cent. The number of patients admitted to CHEO with suicide risks has increased 33 per cent, and the number with self-injury has gone up 61 per cent. Particularly worrisome is the long wait for help. As of April 1 this year at CHEO, there were more than 900 children and youth waiting for mental health and outreach services, up from 760 last year.
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Youth mental health

Section 124 of the Bill states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 of the IPC, any person who attempts suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to be suffering from mental illness at the time of the bid and shall not be liable to punishment under the said Section.” The Bill thus clarifies that the act of suicide and the mental health of the person committing the act are inseparably linked and have to be seen together and not in isolation. Moved by the Ministry of Health, the Bill lays down a proper provision for the treatment of persons attempting suicide. The Bill seeks to provide for mental health care for persons with mental illnesses and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental health care and services. It is the first time that the Government has come up with rights based approach in the mental health law. The Law Commission will separately move this amendment to the Criminal Law which would eventually be effected by the Home Ministry. However, Health Ministry sources said the Law Ministry agreed on the proposed Section in the new mental health care bill to decriminalise suicide.
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