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Addressing Disparities: Resources for Mental Health

by Jill Taylor

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, diagnosable mental illness affects more than one in four American adults and is the leading cause of disability between the ages of 15 and 44. Yet more than other areas of health and medicine, mental health is plagued with disparities in service availability, access, and adequacy.

If you, a loved one, or your patients experience mental illness, here are some organizations that try to fill in the gap by disseminating information, posting helpful resources, and advocating for proper treatment.



NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.

Basic Needs

Basic Needs

Basic Needs works in the developing world to end the suffering of mentally ill people. By ensuring that their basic needs are met and their basic rights are respected, we aim to give hope to the thousands of people who struggle daily with a lack of treatment and the stigma surrounding their disease. We work with people suffering from many types of mental and neurological illnesses, in remote rural countryside to urban slums, in seven countries.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance


The DBSA is a patient-directed national organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses. The organization fosters an environment of understanding about the impact and management of these life-threatening illnesses by providing up-to-date, scientifically-based tools and information written in language the general public can understand. DBSA supports research to promote more timely diagnosis, develop more effective and tolerable treatments and discover a cure.

Treatment Advocacy Center


The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses. TAC promotes laws, policies, and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

APA Help Center

APA Health Center

The APA Help Center is an online resource for brochures, tips and articles on information such as psychological issues that affect physical and emotional well-being, managed care and health insurance, and facts and statistics regarding the mental health issues which affect American society today.

Children's Defense Fund


CDF is a private, nonprofit organization that provides a voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities.

About the Author

Jill Taylor

Jill Taylor is CEO and principal communications consultant for Taylorwrites, Inc., based just north of Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach her at