It used to be that health plans purchased by individuals and not through an employer did not cover mental health issues.  Not any longer.  As of September 23, 2010 any of the available health plans in your state will now cover mental health and the visits to a mental health professional the same as they do any other doctor visit. That means that even if you have a high deductible health plan you won’t have to meet that deductible to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida will also cover 8 days as an inpatient on their individual health plans.  Some health plans will also cover substance abuse. If you are looking for coverage for a child under 18 with a mental health issue that also must be covered even if it is preexisting.Children under 18 must be on a policy with at least one adult family member or guardian. Substance abuse is heart wrenching for any family to deal with.  Lately there has been an alarming increase of women being seen in the ER for attempted suicide with painkillers.  Here is the story from healthfinder.gov.

Painkiller-linked Suicide Tries Among Older Women on Rise

The rate of emergency department visits for drug-linked suicide attempts by American women aged 50 or older jumped by 49 percent between 2005 and 2009, a new government report finds.

Much of the increase involved cases in which women were using prescription medications for pain, insomnia or anxiety, according to researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

For example, rates of suicide-linked emergency department visits for women 50 or older who used anxiety/insomnia medications rose by 56 percent during the study period, from more than 32,000 cases to more than 50,500 cases, SAMHSA reported.

Rates of attempted suicide for older women that involved prescription narcotics used to relieve pain rose even more sharply.  For example, emergency department visits tied to hydrocodone (Vicodin) jumped 67 percent, and cases linked to oxycodone (Oxycontin) more than doubled the study found.

“The steep rise in abuse of narcotic pain relievers by women is extremely dangerous and we are now seeing the result of this public health crisis in our emergency rooms,” SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

“Emergency rooms should not be the frontline in our efforts to intervene,” she added. “Friends and family and all members of the community must do everything possible to help identify women who may be in crisis and do everything possible to reach out and get them needed help.”

National Drug Abuse Helpline phone number is 866-874-4553.