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Making the right diagnosis, finding a mental health professional and obtaining health insurance coverage are the main challenges families face. Many insurers do not provide equal benefits for mental health services as they do for other general medical services. There are often long waiting lists to receive quality services. Patients who have a "dual diagnosis" of developmental and/or medical conditions along with their mental health condition seem to have the most difficulty finding appropriate services. The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's has compiled a list of Greater Cincinnati and national resources that provide mental health services.
See School Special Education, College, Recreation, and Condition-Specific Web Resources for additional information, community links and supports.
Insurance coverage, financial assistance programs, condition, age specific expertise and geographical considerations are important in selecting a mental health provider. Some clinics offer sliding-scale fees based on ability to pay.
Children and adults with developmental disabilities may also have mental health needs requiring intensive behavioral supports. Contact your local Ohio County Board of Developmental Disabilities to see if you qualify for services.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is also looking into establishing a limited number of New Futures Waivers to specifically target:
Ohio Mental Illness Developmental Disabilities Coordinating Center of Excellence (MIDD CCE) helps communities build their knowledge and resources to serve individuals with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and developmental disabilities. The center, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, will help coordinate regional resources for dual diagnosis assessment, trainings and grant funding.
National Association for the Dually Diagnosed provides education, information, and training on mental health issues relating to persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The federal Mental Health Parity Law will require that health plans offered by employers with more than 50 workers will have to treat mental health benefits the same way they handle coverage for physical health care. For example, if a company health plan offers 30 days of inpatient coverage for cardiac care, then it must offer 30 days of inpatient coverage for a mental health diagnosis. Also, if a plan offers out-of-network coverage for physical health care, it must do the same for mental health care. The law also ensures that substance abuse treatment is covered. The law will eliminate the discriminatory copayments, deductibles and other restrictions that had been used to reduce coverage for mental illness. It will prohibit health plans from setting limits on number of visits or hospital days for mental health problems that are different from any such limitations on treatment for medical problems.
Screening tools are available online free of charge to assist parents and professionals in assessing mental health issues. However, concerns should always be discussed with your healthcare provider. A mental health diagnosis is made only after consultation with a qualified professional.
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