Mental health issues are a common occurrence in the United States and around the world. Depression on its own affects 350 million people today around the globe.1 Taken into consideration with other mental disorders, mental health must be regarded as a national priority and not as an issue that is acceptable to marginalize or stigmatize.
Even so, many communities, healthcare providers and sufferers are beginning to realize that the country is not readily equipped to provide the type of support that’s needed. People who suffer from mental health conditions, both temporary and chronic, require the most modern medical and social solutions available—not stigma or neglect. When the nation can make mental health a national priority, it will be better able as a whole to address the major problem of mental health.
Mental Health Research
Many nations only allocate one percent of their healthcare budgets to mental health, yet healthcare experts assert that conditions of the brain require treatment just as any other health condition does. One way for the government to demonstrate that mental health is a national priority is to invest more funding and resources geared toward research of mental health conditions and the development of treatments and therapy. More than 40 million Americans are affected by a mental illness; this investment is easily justifiable.2
With greater attention paid to the scope of the problem, particularly for states that offer reduced mental healthcare, researchers can determine populations that require immediate assistance. With more resources, the medical community can develop improved solutions for solving mental healthcare problems and helping sufferers to manage their conditions.
Protect and Improve Insurance Coverage
To make mental health a national priority, insurers must get on board. Although more Americans now have healthcare coverage since the initiation of the Affordable Care Act, 56 percent of people needing mental healthcare still aren’t getting it. In fact, six out of 10 people suffering from acute depression do not get mental healthcare treatment.
With expanded coverage for mental healthcare, people suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions can obtain the healthcare they need. Ensuring that coverage will be extended to individuals with previous mental health disorders is also important for providing the continued medical help that sufferers need.
Mental Health Education
To decrease the stigma associated with mental health, more education is needed. Mental health is a worldwide problem. It does not simply affect a few people. When mental illness affects an individual, it also impacts their families and even communities. Education is needed so that sufferers understand how essential it is to get help when suffering from a mental health condition.
With more education, suffering could be reduced and suicides could be prevented. Some studies have even indicated that incarceration rates are lower in states where treatment for mental illness is more heavily funded. Education will help entire communities to make mental health a national priority and to resist marginalizing people who are suffering from mental health conditions.
Now is the time to make mental health a national priority. Many mental health conditions are treatable, and with treatment, sufferers can enjoy a better quality of life. Tell your legislators that you care about mental health treatment. Tell them to make mental health a national priority.