January Policy & Advocacy Update
Let’s renew our commitment to “the science” in 2022
James Curtin, MBA, LCADC
How often have we heard the term “following the science” over the last two years? It seems like whenever you turn on the television or pick up a story on the internet “the science” is being discussed. We hope and pray that our leaders are completely committed to making decisions regarding our health that are rooted in science.
We, at Acenda, are certainly committed to providing evidence-based and promising practices to those receiving services in our recovery and mental health programs, at-home programs, parenting and nursing services, and to whomever needs life-saving services. At Acenda, we pride ourselves on “moving lives forward”.
This is a crucial time, as we enter another year within a pandemic, for human services providers across our nation to reconfirm their commitment to “the science”. Unfortunately, using the word crucial is no exaggeration given the ongoing mental health and addiction crisis in our country. After all, we know that more people died of a fatal overdose between 2020-2021 than ever have before in the United States.
It has also been widely reported that people of all ages, and especially our young people, are experiencing tremendous anxiety, depression, stuck and isolation among other concerning conditions. Therapists report overwhelming caseloads and needing to schedule weeks out for an initial appointment. It has been reported that as many as 1 in 5 in our country are suffering with a mental health diagnosis and only about 1 in 10 who need treatment actually get it. Let’s remember that it’s safe to say that all of those who are receiving some sort of addiction and/or mental health counseling are not receiving services that are rooted in the science.
Research has shown that communities of color have been disparately affected by the pandemic. This has been measured by infections, deaths, loss of employment, food insecurity, homelessness, access to affordable healthcare, etc. Today we have an abundance of research regarding social determinants of health that can no longer be ignored.
Today we know that the number one determinant of life expectancy is one’s zip code.
Research guides human services providers as they attempt to program with conditions in the environment where people are born, live, learn, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks in mind.
This link contains information regarding Healthy People 2030. The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has set forth a plan entitled Healthy People 2030.
In order for a country to achieve “healthy people”, extensive research leading to scientific approaches, rooted in the research, are paramount in moving forward and out of the pandemic while limiting the casualties of the pandemic.
A redoubling of our efforts and a major commitment to “the science” have never been needed more.