Target: Yoon Joo Han, Behavioral Health Director
Goal: Thank the Asian Counseling and Referral Service for working to lengthen the lifespans of people with severe mental illnesses
A 2006 study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors warns that people with a severe mental illness die 25 years earlier than people without a severe mental illness. As anyone who either has a mental illness or who has a loved one struggling with such an illness knows, there are a lot of cracks in the mental health industry. Medications do not always work and mental illness might just be one aspect of a patient’s health problems.
There is hope, however. The Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a nonprofit located in Seattle, is a shining example for nonprofits nationwide. It helps 27,000 people every year through a variety of mental health and substance abuse programs. One of its key programs is the Wellness for Asian Pacific American Project, which combines mental health and physical health. By approaching mental health from a more holistic angle, this organization is laying groundwork for the health care industry.
For far too long mental health care has been isolated in its own corner, often out of shame, fear, and ignorance, but the Asian Counseling and Referral Service is making great strides for people who suffer from mental illness. Thank this organization for proving that it is not only possible to integrate mental health and physical health, but that it is beneficial for the patients they treat. Support them in their fight to lengthen the lifespans of their patients.
Dear Yoon Joo Han,
Everyone deserves to life a long and healthy life. It is not just a fundamental human right, though. It is also your organization’s mission. People who are dealing with severe mental illnesses die, on average, 25 years earlier. Considering the current state of the mental health care industry, it is not surprising, but it is shocking. No one should be at risk for having such a reduced lifespan simply because of mental illness.
Yet for too long people have considered mental and physical heath to be separate. The truth is that the human body and mind are much more complex than that and a holistic approach to health is far more effective at treating people. That is why what your organization is doing is so important. Thank you for integrating physical and mental health care. Organizations like yours lay important groundwork for others to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for your bravery and commitment to patients’ health, and thank you, too, for fighting to make sure that even people who struggle with severe mental illness will have access to the integrated, holistic health care they need to ensure that they have the best chance at having a long and healthy life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: 7mike5000 via Wikimedia