June 29, 2013 National Alliance on Mental Illness
Board meeting advocating for the 1 in 5 HIV+ people
struggling with major depression, anxiety and substance abuse.For me it was a momentous night as the presentation addressed something so close to home for me, HIV, mental illness and substance abuse., the three pillars of the website founded 2004 as consumer advocate for HIV and Mental Health. The event was sponsored by the Medius Working Group formed in memory of Spencer Cox (1968-2012). Mr Cox founded the Medius Institute for Gay Men's Health (2006-2007). "It was founded to advocate for research into emotional, mental and physical issues facing gay men in midlife. I never met Spencer Cox, but I like to think he would have appreciated my own Op-Ed Wearing Red and Green just a week before the event.
The article resurfaced twice since Mr. Staley's Op-Ed, one titled "Gay Community Won Battles on Marriage, But May Be Losing the War on HIV/AIDS " July 3rd and the other "Gay Inc. Winning on Marriage, Losing on HIV/AIDS", , July 9th.
After reading all three, I didn't see mention of what drew me to the, "Its My Beautiful Life" event I attended, that being mental illness. I read "Living On the Edge Gay Men, Depression And Risk-Taking Behaviors", written by Spencer Cox. In it Mr. Cox wrote, page 10, paragraph two:
"In this sense, mental health care, should be a topic of concern as much as gay marriage or anti-trust laws. We need to demand that depression in gay men be studied and treated not just as an adjunct to other public health problems, but as an important health risk in it's own right. We need to demand public health programs and insurance coverage to meet our mental health needs. And we need to confront the institutions, both outside and within the gay community that fail to support gay men in building happy, healthy lives."
So let use honor Spencer Cox by making sure mental health stays in the equation as we move beyond marriage equality and monies are targeted back to AIDS funding.
Two white papers published by Spencer Cox
2006 and 2007
"Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act"
Affordable Care Act Expands Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits and Federal Parity Protections for 62 Million Americans"
February 20, 2013
"Mental Health and HIV, the Uncharted Territory"
March 14, 2013