With the ongoing increase in efforts to effectively address mental health in communities across the country, United Way of Elgin and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership have teamed together to provide a solution for the community.
Local residents have saved $119,074 on mental health prescription medications they might not have been able to afford otherwise, thanks to a partnership between the two organizations.
FamilyWize, a national grass-roots community initiative offering free prescription assistance to millions of Americans in partnership with United Way, is dedicated to reducing the cost of prescription medicine for individuals and families through distribution of free prescription savings cards. The FamilyWize cards may be used by anyone in need and are provided free through United Way of Elgin.
"Prescription medicine is crucial for maintaining mental health, but the high costs often act as a barrier," said Lynne Bosley, president of United Way of Elgin. "We're living in tight economic times. People should not have to choose between taking their medication and paying for a meal. The FamilyWize prescription savings program can make the difference in whether or not a patient obtains the proper medicine and follows proper treatment."
The FamilyWize-United Way Card requires no enrollment or activation.
For more information, or to download a free prescription card or compare the discounted price of prescriptions at nearby pharmacies visit www.FamilyWize.org. Locally, cards can be obtained by calling United Way of Elgin at (847) 741-2259 or visiting www.uwelgin.org.
Failure to take prescribed medicine is an ongoing problem with mental illness treatment.
Non-adherence to antipsychotics is likely the single-biggest factor "contributing to psychotic relapse and hospitalization," according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. And the average rate of non-adherence is about 50 percent, according to the Journal of Clinical Psycopharmacology.
"Mental health is a key component in overall health and well-being, and we're happy to see so many people able to get the help they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford," said Susan Gilmore, FamilyWize's executive director of community engagement.
As the only prescription assistance service of its kind to pass through 100 percent of its savings directly to its members, FamilyWize brings together millions of uninsured and underinsured individuals and families into one umbrella-buying group to negotiate these discounts.
The average discount is 40 percent and is sometimes as much as 75 percent or more -- similar to what pharmacies give the largest insurance companies and employers. Since 2005, FamilyWize has helped nearly 7 million people get medicine they otherwise could not afford, which accounts for close to $700 million in direct savings on prescriptions.
Consumers give the card to their pharmacists every time a prescription is needed and discounts are automatically applied. The FamilyWize card is accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kmart, Target and Walmart.
FamilyWize and the United Way have helped nearly 7 million people nationwide save close to $700 million on the medicines they need to live healthy lives -- including $197 million in mental health prescription cost savings. Almost 1,000 United Ways distribute the cards in the communities they serve.
More than one in five U.S. adults suffers from mental health issues, while one in 10 young adults experience a period of significant depression, according to MentalHealth.gov. One in 20 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.
As part of last month's recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, President Obama issued a proclamation addressing the growing issue of mental illness in the nation.
"Over the course of a year, one in five adults will experience a mental illness, yet less than half will receive treatment. Because this is unacceptable, my Administration is fighting to make mental health care more accessible than ever," Obama's proclamation read, in part.