You Can Make the Difference
The Smash Stress campaign needs you—and your signature—to stop the invisible epidemic of stress, responsible for some three-quarters of all doctor visits and a hit to pocketbooks and the economy that adds up to a staggering $1 trillion each year. With your support, we can treat stress on the front end before it blows up into heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other chronic illnesses.
You can help make that happen by signing this petition, getting stress screening covered as a preventive service of the Affordable Care Act, and helping us get stress management covered by insurance.
Get Stress Screening and Management Covered
The petition calls on President Obama, Health and Human Services, and the Surgeon General to add stress screening to 16 preventive services already offered under the new healthcare law, from colorectal screening to depression screening. The Obama Administration has made preventive care the cornerstone of healthcare reform, laid out in a 125-page document, the National Prevention Strategy. Yet it's missing a plan to prevent and manage stress, the biggest driver of chronic diseases (hypertension to diabetes) and medical expenses.
Together, we can de-stigmatize the mental health aspect of stress, get this private agony out of the shadows, and put stress-reduction on the front-burner of healthcare. We can transform America, from a place of rocketing anxiety and fear to a place where we have the tools to manage challenges and take back control of our lives, health, and medical bills. Please sign the petition to stop the cycle of stress and the chronic diseases that come from them. We can do this!
Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff
Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General
Millions of Americans are fighting chronic diseases, suffering high anxiety, and struggling to pay astronomical medical bills, because the nation hasn’t addressed the health crisis behind the health care crisis: the invisible epidemic of stress. We can't look the other way any longer when 60% to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress-related problems. The total cost of stress to the nation is an astounding $1 trillion a year (Peter Schnall, U.C. Irvine)!
The CDC says that stress plays a role in five out of the six leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents. We could save millions of lives, cut billions of dollars, and reduce the national debt by preventing and treating stress before it leads to cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. The Administration's National Prevention Strategy says that, “preventing disease and injuries is key to improving America’s health.” There is no bigger issue to prevent than stress, since it leads to all the major diseases.
The United Nations calls stress “the 21st-century health epidemic.” Yet most Americans have no access to insurance that covers mental and psychological issues, or it’s too costly to use. In most states job stress coverage has to be tied to a specific physical injury.
I started this petition because I have been stunned at what I have seen in the workplace—heart attacks at 29, nervous breakdowns at 35, people who have been hauled out of their offices on stretchers after heart attacks, who are on seven medications in the prime of their lives because of chronic stress.
This is a national emergency that cries out for a very simple remedy: prevention and management. We know how to control stress. It’s time to make those tools available to every American.
I call on President Obama and the Health and Human Services Department to make stress screening and management part of the preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act. There are currently 16 preventive services covered by the ACA, from alcohol misuse to cholesterol screening. We want a 17th, stress screening.
We also call on the Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, to launch a national campaign to promote stress education and management. The goal is to cut stress with the same intensity and national focus that helped reduce smoking, which kills many fewer people each year than the illnesses driven by stress.
It’s time to take on the nation’s number one health menace: stress, and the insane health costs that come with it. Will you join me in asking President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, and Health and Human Services to add stress screening and management to the preventive services under the Affordable Care Act? Please sign the petition today and share with all your networks. I hope you’ll join the effort at Twitter hashtag #smashstress, on Facebook, and at worktolive.info/smashstress. Thank you very much!