United Way of Racine County, FamilyWize team up to get the mentally ill their prescription medication

RACINE (WITI) -- In recognition of "National Mental Illness Awareness Week" (October 5-11), United Way of Racine County and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership have teamed up to provide a solution for the community. Racine County residents have saved $195,631 on mental health prescription medications by using the FamilyWize Prescription Discount card. They might not have been able to otherwise afford the medications.

More than one in five U.S. adults suffer 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.

FamilyWize, a unique national grassroots 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 and are provided free through United Way of Racine County.

“Prescription medicine is crucial for maintaining mental health, but the high costs often act as a barrier,” said Rodney Prunty, president of United Way of Racine County. “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.”

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 Psychopharmacology.

“Mental health is a key component in overall health and wellbeing, 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 engagements.

As the only prescription assistance service to pass 100 percent of its savings directly to its users, FamilyWize brings together millions of uninsured and underinsured individuals and families into one umbrella-buying group to negotiate these discounts. The average discount in Racine County is approximately 30 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 seven million people get medicine they otherwise could not afford, which accounts for close to $700 million in direct savings on prescriptions. Locally, more than $700,000 has been saved in prescription costs by over 7,000 Racine County residents.

The FamilyWize-United Way Card requires no enrollment or activation. Consumers give the card to their pharmacist each time a prescription is needed and the discount is automatically applied. The FamilyWize card is accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kmart, Target and Walmart.