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The time is now for mental health reform, Every Day, In All-Gender Restrooms: the Signs Reflect the

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address the time is now for mental health reform, in all-gender restrooms: the signs reflect the times and more.

More than 13 million Americans have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression, and the majority of them are going without treatment. A patchwork of programs and policies spanning numerous federal and state agencies makes the task of managing mental illness challenging for physicians, providers, patients and their families. This is complicated by fragmented delivery and reimbursement systems that disregard parity laws, regulatory barriers, workforce shortages and the enduring stigma surrounding mental health. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is scheduled to markup the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This legislation would comprehensively address the issues faced by people with serious mental illness, as well as the 60 million Americans who live with another form of mental health or substance use disorder. Mental health reform would be a great accomplishment for Congress and the American public.

Every Student, Every Day – U.S. Department of Education

In response to the President’s call to action to improve the lives of all young people through the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK), the Obama Administration is launched on October 7, 2015, Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism. Every Student, Every Day is focused on the estimated 5 to 7.5 million students who are chronically absent each year. Chronic absenteeism puts students at heightened risk of falling behind and dropping out of school. Despite record high school graduation rates, too many of our nation’s young people—particularly students who are low-income, of color, homeless, highly mobile, with disabilities, and/or juvenile justice-involved—still do not graduate from high school or are off-track toward that important goal. This initiative will empower educators and communities to close the opportunity gap facing our most vulnerable children and ensure there’s a student at every school desk, every day,” said U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

The Whitney Museum of American Art moved to its new location in Lower Manhattan, which provides restrooms for everyone on the gender spectrum. The Whitney is not alone in being challenged to rethink one of the most basic uses of public space. With the issues of serving openly in the military and same-sex marriage now largely resolved, the fight for all-gender restrooms has emerged as the latest civil rights issue in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) community. Ever since their introduction, restrooms have been a curious ground zero for civil rights, whether for African-Americans or people with disabilities. Schools and universities (including Johns Hopkins and Michigan State), museums (like the American Folk Art Museum in New York City and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City), restaurants both trendy and modest (such as the Pass & Provisions in Houston and the Midtown Cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif.) and even the White House (in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) are recasting the traditional men’s/women’s room, resulting in a dizzying range of (often creative) signage and vocabulary.

APA Exclusive– All-gender restrooms were made available during the 2014 and 2015 APA Conventions and will continue to be provided at future APA Conventions. They will also be provided at the spring and fall consolidated meetings of APA Boards and Committees.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

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