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Partnership with FamilyWize saves $433,872 for 5,838 people locally

With the ongoing increase in efforts to effectively address mental health in communities across the country, United Way of Perry County and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership have teamed together to  provide a solution for the community.  Local residents have saved $140,282 on mental health prescription medications they might not have been able to afford otherwise, thanks to a partnership between the two organizations.   

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.    

FamilyWize, a unique national grassroots community initiative offering free prescription assistance to millions of Americans in partnership with United Way of Perry County, 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 Perry County.   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.   

“Prescription medicine is crucial for maintaining mental health, but the high costs often act as a barrier,” said Rebecca Fenn of United Way of Perry County. “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.  Many of the uninsured and underinsured individuals helped by this program may have had to skip their medications otherwise due to high costs, ” Fenn said.   

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 wellbeing, and we’re happy to see some many people able to get the help they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford,” said Susan Gilmore, FamilyWize’s Executive Director of Community Engagements.   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.   

The FamilyWize-United Way Card requires no enrollment or activation. 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. For more information, or to download a free prescription card or compare the discounted price of prescriptions at nearby pharmacies visit www.FamilyWize.org.   

United Way is a worldwide movement of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. It advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality life. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action – to give, advocate and volunteer – to improve conditions in their local community. For more information about United Way Worldwide, please visit: www.UnitedWay.org.  For more information about United Way of Perry County, please visit: www.unitedwayperryco.org.

The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership was established in 2005 to help all people get the medicine they need. Today, more than 80,000 community agencies, thousands of United Ways and the America’s Promise Alliance Partners coordinate local distribution of the free FamilyWize prescription drug discount card, which lowers the cost of medicine as much as 75% or more.  The free FamilyWize cards have helped seven million people save almost $700 million. For more information, visit familyWize.org/about-us.          

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