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However, only about a third of those estimated costs actually go toward treatment.The majority the 4 billion is spent in the form of disability payments and lost productivity.
The historic relocation of many of those experiencing serious mental health issues from hospitals to streets to prisons, however, isn’t good fiscal policy, and it’s downright shameful from a human rights perspective, especially because it allows society to facilitate an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward the issue.
A majority of mental health experts agree that that the current system is in shambles, but, as was evident in the most recent State of the Union address, few significant efforts have been made to improve it.
When the Community Mental Health Act was passed in 1963, officials proposed a national network of community-based mental health facilities to provide a point of access where people could quickly receive all forms of mental health care in the same place.
This legislation led to the closing of several large, state-funded mental hospitals across the country, as it was thought these new community centers could drastically reduce treatment times and return people to society rather than keep them locked up in institutions.
From 2009 to 2012, states cut $5 billion worth of mental health care services and the nation eliminated more than 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds.
Because of poor policy moves like this, in a crisis many people who experience serious mental health issues wind up in emergency rooms because there is no place else for them to go.Although we’ve come a long way since the 18th century, the mental health system in America today is seriously flawed and in desperate need of attention.If you talk to someone about how mental health care was performed in the past, he or she might scoff at the poor “treatment” some people received at mental institutions that were often indistinguishable from prisons.Inmates should be given equal access to quality mental health care in order to give them a fair shot at making a recovery and reintegrating into society, which many studies have shown would lower recidivism and thus the burden on taxpayers.Until better alternatives come about, prison time should be used as an opportunity for healing and transformation.However, that same person might be surprised to learn that the largest single-facility provider of mental health services in the United States today is not a mental health facility, hospital, or community center at all. In 2012, more than 350,000 people with mental health conditions were living in jails and prisons, whereas only about 35,000 people were treated in state-funded impatient psychiatric institutions.According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 40% of adults diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar issues remained untreated in the previous year, and as many as 60% of adults diagnosed with a mental health concern went without any treatment.Now that you’ve read about some of the problems, let’s talk solutions.Here are four suggestions we believe would go a long way toward fixing the mental health care system: Mental health concerns are estimated to cost the United States more than 4 billion each year.Though much has changed in society since 1963, the vision of a comprehensive mental health care system is still an important one.In addition to outpatient services, individuals experiencing mental health conditions deserve access to adequate inpatient care, supported housing, family therapy, and addiction services, as well as supported employment programs.