Aging Studies Professor & Graduate Student Serve on Advisory Panel
Victor Molinari, PhD, and his graduate student Rosalyn Roker from the School of Aging Studies were on the advisory panel of the National Alliance for Caregiving which in partnership with Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently published a study on caregivers: "On Pins & Needles: Caregivers of adults with Mental Illness". This survey of 1600 caregivers providing care to adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) identified the challenges caregivers face. Caregivers of those with mental illness are especially vulnerable, with half of the care recipients living with their caregivers and half of the caregivers reporting that their loved one is financially dependent upon them. Over 60% say that caregiving has made their health worse and that they have less time for themselves than they would like, and half say they feel alone. More than 20% say they have trouble locating a mental health professional or even health care provider who is knowledgeable about mental health. Half of the caregivers say they have trouble arranging treatment for their loved one. The policy recommendations of this report include advocacy for integrating behavioral health assessment into all health care assessments, mental health treatment parity, accessibility of high quality services, assistance in navigating our fragmented health care system, inclusion of families in care plans, caregiver education regarding managing their own stress, and public awareness campaigns to decrease the stigma of mental illness. You can find the report at: www.caregiving.org/mentalhealth.