About the Mental Health Parity Collaborative
What is Mental Health Parity?
In 1996, the breakthrough Mental Health Parity Act was passed—the first legislation to require that certain insurance providers cover mental health benefits the same, or on parity, with medical benefits.
Yet even after the Mental Health Equity and Substance Abuse Parity Act passed in 2008, expanding the reach of the 1996 legislation, along with the Affordable Care Act in 2010, parity between mental health care and medical health care is far from achieved. Millions of people struggle to find, receive, and afford appropriate mental health treatment and, as a result, are forced to pay out-of-network costs or not receive care at all. Lack of parity is rampant throughout the U.S.: the 2018 State Parity Implementation Survey gave 43 states a grade of D or F on mental health parity.
Growing digital resources and ongoing budget cuts have encouraged collaborative journalism models since the mid-2000’s. Collaboratives enable newsrooms to share resources and ideas, reach a larger audience, and affect more significant change.
The Mental Health Parity Collaborative brings together newsrooms from around the country—both national and regional—to take a deeper look at why mental health parity hasn’t been achieved from both an investigative and solutions journalism angle. Our news partners are embedded in outlets in California, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and our national partner, The Center for Public Integrity, is based in Washington, D.C.
The team represents a diverse swath of the U.S. that provides a solid foundation to pursue different, important stories on the access to and inequities with mental health care in the U.S. The work we produce is both data- and source-driven, to illuminate the challenges and the possibilities for improvement.