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This post was originally published in the Fall 2019 edition of the OCD Newsletter.

Here is what the IOCDF has been up to since the Summer 2019 Newsletter:

• We partnered with the nation’s leading mental health organizations to advocate for the enforcement of and transparency for mental health parity, ensuring health plans and insurers are compliant with the federal parity law. While this law is nearly a decade old, a large number of health plans and insurers are still not in compliance. It is our hope that through legislation, coverage for mental health care will be easier to access and more affordable for all in the future.

• We joined with other mental health organizations to support policy for school-based health centers, which serve as a catch-all resource for medical and mental health care for youth across the country.

• Michael Petruzzelli, the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Director of Federal Policy and Advocacy, spoke to attendees at the 26th Annual OCD Conference about how to be effective advocates with policymakers at all levels — in their local communities, in their state, and federally.

• We’ve joined a new coalition to increase our voice and presence on policy issues that are relevant to the OCD and related disorders community — the Health Innovation Alliance. As members of this alliance, our specific focus will be on their work with telehealth-related policy, including teletherapy and telepsychiatry.

Here are some upcoming advocacy activities and ways to get involved:

• National Council’s Hill Day 2019: Join us in Washington, DC on September 17–18 for the National Council on Behavioral Health’s annual Hill Day, the largest mental health and addiction advocacy event of the year. Participants will meet with their state’s members of Congress to urge them to pass crucial legislation. For more information about how you can be part of this event, e-mail us at advocacy@iocdf.org.

• 2019 Mental Health Advocacy Capital Walk: This fall, we will gather again on the National Mall in Washington, DC for the third annual advocacy walk. The walk is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 12th.

• Our webpage for advocacy-related initiatives is now live! Please visit iocdf.org/advocacy to learn more and see what we’ve been up to.

• We launched a policy advocacy-specific e-mail list, so interested individuals can stay up to date on our latest initiatives. To sign up, visit iocdf.org/sign-up and select “Advocacy.”

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