Mental Health Issue in the US paper

Mental Health Issue in the US

The growing concern about mental health and cases leading to suicide is an issue that has not been handled properly in the United States of America. However, this is not to say that few people are experiencing the problem. Based on the study released by the National Institute of Mental health in 2015, the number of adults suffering from mental health was 9.8 million which represents about 4 percent of the total population. According to the study, they considered a serious mental illness to be one that affects a patient’s ability to do daily activities. Based on this description, NIMH was able to identify that about 17.9 percent of all adults at the time qualified to undergo a mental illness diagnosis. The kind of attention that both physicians and patients give mental illness is not that important. However, a number of physical diseases get worse when they coexist with a mental illness. An excellent example is for people suffering from heart attacks who tend to increase their rate of mortality when having untreated depression. Even though the mental health care system may not be ideal to handle mental health patients, society is also to blame for the failure of mental health patients to get treatment. In particular, mental health patients are being stigmatized making them less likely to come forward in order seek medical care.

Mental health and suicide

It is thus true to argue that Mental illness and suicide seem to be forbidden words in the American vocabulary.
Even though there is a strong demand for mental care in the US, just like it is in many other parts of the world, most Americans are of the view that such services cannot be accessed by everyone and the other few people hold the view that such services are limited. There are a number of reasons why most Americans have come to that position. Firstly, there are those who blame the US government as well the insurers for failing to fund and offer support that would make such services to be accessible to everyone (Croft, & Parish, 2013).
Mental health issue in the US has seen its citizens commit suicide at quite an alarming rate, especially, among high-profile celebrities. The main challenge often cited as the cause of suicide cases is the inability of patients or people under depression not seeking medical care. In addition, there is evidence to show that lack of awareness is the reason why such people are not coming forward to seek medical attention (Croft, & Parish, 2013). This is particularly true considering the fact that mental health care is their right as stipulated in the constitution. Quite a number of Americans are not aware of the fact that health-insurance plans are required by the law to offer the same coverage for the treatment of addiction and mental health as for any other physical illness. The law that mandated health-insurance to cover the addiction and mental health was passed as a legislation in 1996 by the Congress and was further made more comprehensive in 2008, even though it waited until the Affordable Care Act was enacted for it to fully implement most of its promises (Croft, & Parish, 2013). The idea that most patients are not seeking mental care may have been derived from the fact that before the enactment of the ACA, the patients under mental health complications could not have private health insurance in quite a number of states within the country (Croft, & Parish, 2013). However, things have changed and a person cannot be denied coverage based on preexisting mental health complications.

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A survey carried out by Ipsos

A recent survey carried out by Ipsos and One Medical shows that about one-third of the Americans not confident to expose their mental health problems, to either people close to them or medical practitioners. The reason being that they are avoiding the stigma associated with their condition (Croft, & Parish, 2013). In addition, there has also been the accessibility and cost issue that hindered patients from getting the mental health care they needed. In a bid to solve the problem, the first step should be to encourage those suffering from mental related complications to seek help by providing them with the information they need to know about the services available for their condition.
In the US, the attitude that the public has had towards mental illness has been such that the area is a preserve for mental healthcare practitioners, which include: psychologists, academics in the field, psychiatrists, administrators and lastly, psychiatrists. The area of health concern received little interest from the public opinion analysts, mainly because it did not attract the attention of the public or political resonance until in the recent past (Borinstein, 1992). Therefore, the culture of the country has been to view mental health as a private matter unless medical professionals or family members were involved. However, it is worth noting that the issue is now in public limelight and there are a number of things that have enabled mental health to enter into the public limelight.
Most Americans are now being enlightened about a mental health issue through the media, especially, through the introduction of newspapers and magazines featuring health science sections. The other avenue of the media is the television programs which have helped demystify the concept of mental health among the millions of Americans (Borinstein, 1992). In terms of treatment of people with mental disorders, the last decade has seen the discovery of psychotropic medicines to be used for patients suffering from mental illness. In addition, the Americans seeking medical services for their mental health issues need to know that the stigma that was previously associated with people with mental health issues by health practitioners has now reduced.

Increased number of patients

The other positive thing about mental illness that Americans need to know is that there is an increased number of patients who are now willing to disclose to their friends about seeking emotional as well as psychological help from psychiatrists or psychologists. The other positive change that is happening in the US in regards to mental health is the increased number of employers who have now recognized that their employees also need mental health care and for that reason, they have put in place health insurance plans in order to cater for the costs associated with psychiatric treatment (Borinstein, 1992). Lastly, public education which has been carried out by a number of different health organizations has also been useful in spreading awareness about mental health illnesses. For these reasons, most Americans need not shy away from seeking medical help or assistance.
A study carried out by Michigan State University established that very few Americans are able to identify mental illness and worse than that is the fact that fewer people know about the treatment options (Das, Olfson, McCurtis, & Weissman, 2006). More than fifty percent of the participants involved in the study were not in a position to identify the symptoms of anxiety and the majority of them did not even know the treatment options for depression. The other thing that the study found out is that where people live, the age of a person and the amount of money a person makes can play a role in the ability of a person to tell whether another person is suffering from mental complications (Das et al., 2006). A good example is people living in urban areas or coming from the high-income background who tend to be less likely to know the signs that other people are suffering from depression.
The mental health problem is the US can be solved by ensuring the whole society stays informed about the issue and changing how people think about mental health. The significance of ensuring that people are informed about mental health is because it is one of the most effective ways of fighting the stigma associated with the illness within the society (Falconer, Kho, & Docherty, 2018). The other thing that Americans need to know about the mental health problem is the benefits that come with using technology in a bid to solve the issue. In particular, technology has the ability to solve most of the problems that the mental health system is experiencing in the country. This argument is based on a systemic review that was carried out to find out the value of using technology to help in the provision of care in mental health.
There are many ways that technology is being used in mental health, and a good example is a Web-based communication whose role is to coordinate care, there is also telemedicine and lastly is the use of electronic health records (Falconer et al., 2018). In many of the mental health complications that Americans experience, health practitioners have become accustomed to using coordinated care which they use for people suffering from depression. There are a number of benefits that technology-based coordinated care has on patients, which include but is not limited to, facilitating communication, accessing patients information, screening and lastly, in improving treatment compliance (Falconer et al., 2018). For these reasons, most Americans suffering from depression and other mental disorders need to know that they can get the care they need at health centers.
Despite the awareness of the increased awareness of mental health in America and the many efforts being made to make healthcare accessible, it is worth noting that there are certain barriers that continue to affect a section of the Americans while trying to get mental health care. Firstly, there is institutionalized racism which is made worse with the existence of socioeconomic disparity which the people of the color face (Gary, 2005). It is also worth noting that poverty puts a person in a risky position as far as behavioral health is concerned. In addition, in the absence of insurance, it will be hard for poor Americans to treat their mental illness. For that reason, poverty acts both as a barrier for a person to receive treatment and as a risk factor for developing the illness. There is also a lack of African American representation among the physicians dealing with mental health care, which makes it difficult for the American health system to fully understand the issue of race on the provision of health care (Gary, 2005). The other challenge that is holding back the provision of mental health care in America is the inadequate cultural competence that is common in sessions held for counseling. In particular, there is evidence to show that white therapists tend to show discomfort while handling clients of color, and even when coming up with the perspectives regarding mental illness (Gary, 2005). For instance, there are white counselors who have decided to take a colorblind approach, which is the view that does not see whether there is a connection between social factors and both mental health and race.
Overall, the discussion has illustrated a number of things regarding the idea that mental illness and suicide seem to be forbidden words in the American vocabulary. In view of this argument, it has become clear that most Americans are of the view that mental health services cannot be accessed by everyone or that the services are limited. They blame the US government as well the insurers for failing to fund and offer support that would make such services to be accessible to everyone. The other challenge emanates from the fact that a huge number of Americans are not aware that health-insurance plans are required by the law to offer the same coverage for the treatment of addiction and mental health as for any other physical illness. The other thing is the culture of the country which has viewed mental health as a private matter unless medical professionals or family members are involved. Despite the challenges Americans have experience regarding the treatment of mental illnesses, it is now possible that they can access the services due to the fact that there is an increased number of patients who are now willing to disclose to their friends about seeking emotional as well as psychological help from psychiatrists or psychologists. In addition, in many of the mental health complications that Americans experience, health practitioners have become accustomed to using coordinated care which they use for people suffering from depression. All these development are positive and should encourage American patients to seek mental health services when they fall ill.
Falconer, E., Kho, D., & Docherty, J. P. (2018). Use of technology for care coordination initiatives for patients with mental health issues: a systematic literature review. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 14, 2337.
Borinstein, A. B. (1992). Public attitudes toward persons with mental illness. Health affairs, 11(3), 186-196.
MERCADO, M. (2017, May 10). Mental Health Stigma Is Keeping People From Getting Help. Retrieved from
Das, A. K., Olfson, M., McCurtis, H. L., & Weissman, M. M. (2006). Depression in African Americans: breaking barriers to detection and treatment: community-based studies tend to ignore high-risk groups of African Americans. Journal of Family Practice, 55(1), 30-40.
Gary, F. A. (2005). Stigma: Barrier to mental health care among ethnic minorities. Issues in mental health nursing, 26(10), 979-999.
Croft, B., & Parish, S. L. (2013). Care integration in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Implications for behavioral health. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 40(4), 258-263.

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