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Extension of Health Care Debate--US''s Failing Mental Health Services

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AllieGator

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Given the rigorous debate over in the Health Care thread, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the US''s Mental Health industry. We were just given a near-failing grade, and many states are cutting money to the (already underfunded) mental health sector. As someone who has a history of dysthymic depression, this concerns me.

I find the idea of cutting funds counterproductive, because in times of great economic distress, like the current environment, the need for mental health services increases greatly.

What are some other opinions?


Near-Failing Grade in Mental Health Services (CNN)
 

neatfreak

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Unfortunately there is still a mentality in this country that mental health services aren''t the same as physical health services. Many people just don''t understand that these diseases/problems are just as destructive and sometimes more destructive than physical ailments.
 

strmrdr

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It is bad but that is a very biased source of information.
 

tradergirl

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Storm, get used to it. We''re in for four years of this Moveon.org funded propaganda and garbage. They''re trying to soften up the public to slip us a nice dose of France style "health care."

I don''t think it will work this time though.
 

AllieGator

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Date: 3/19/2009 10:14:03 AM
Author: neatfreak
Unfortunately there is still a mentality in this country that mental health services aren't the same as physical health services. Many people just don't understand that these diseases/problems are just as destructive and sometimes more destructive than physical ailments.
Exactly...alot of people just don't understand what mental illness really does to people. I don't have any serious illnesses, but I know many people who have friends/relatives who do.

Another interesting part of this is the number of troops who are coming back with PTSD, and have a hard time getting treatment. I have a good friend who suffers from this, and was sent back to Iraq without any treatment.

I hope our country begins to understand how serious this problem is.

Tradergirl, how is wanting to improve mental health services automatically a move towards socialized health care? I'm curious. I didn't realize that wanting to help people recover and lead productive lives was a purely liberal motivation.
 

tradergirl

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It''s a slippery slope. You have to convince the public that what they have is inadequate and only Big Daddy Gubbmint can do it better.
 

cara

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Date: 3/19/2009 11:21:31 AM
Author: tradergirl
It''s a slippery slope. You have to convince the public that what they have is inadequate and only Big Daddy Gubbmint can do it better.
Well, do you have anything positive to contribute? How do you think mental health care should be provided? Do you think the current system is perfectly fine or what tweaks would you make? Do you think there is an societal obligation to provide mental health care to those unable or unwilling to obtain it on their own (which given the nature of the illness, is kind of a given for some patients) - or should they be left to fend for themselves in the streets and occasionally commit horrific crimes?
 

tradergirl

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No, I don''t think there is a societal obligation except in cases where people are truly indigent and possibly a danger to themselves or others.
 

AllieGator

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Date: 3/19/2009 9:31:43 PM
Author: tradergirl
No, I don''t think there is a societal obligation except in cases where people are truly indigent and possibly a danger to themselves or others.
I don''t think you realize how severe mental illnesses can be, and how hard it is in the US for these people to find services, even in the private sector.

No one is saying society should pay for it...that is what insurance is for. I''m simply stating, as the article does, that more services should be available, and that the services we do have already are very inadequate for the number of people who need them.

Clinical Depression (caused by too little seratonin in the body, so no one''s fault) is extremely common. If there was a physical ailment that had so little treatment available, there would be an outrage.
 

LtlFirecracker

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Sadly, you can''t address physical health problems unless you address mental health problems. It is really the hardest barrier to overcome when treating people. It is something that needs to be taken more seriously, and seen as a disease and not as a result of poor choices.
 

strmrdr

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I was waiting until I had some time to comment on this.

The mental health care in the US varies.
There are a lot of programs to help the worst off, ssd, medicare, Medicaid, and support programs in most cities of any size.
For the ones that can function normally regular insurance if they are working is pretty good these days it used to be very bad with very low payment limits.
Most states have outlawed such limits and it must be treated as any other disease.

The ones that are in a crunch are the ones that arent sick enough for disability yet arent well enough to maintain a job with benefits, they fall through the cracks and often are very under treated. These are the ones that sometimes crack and the neighbors say he/she was such a nice guy/gal after they do something awful.

Then you have the non-compliant people who are very ill, these are the people that are the stereotypical mentally ill but are just a small fraction.
Unfortunately the very laws that were designed to protect them from the abuses of the past harm them today as it is impossible to force them into treatment.
This can be very dangerous to society and many of them do end up in jail while others just live harmlessly in their own little world.

Treatment not only protects the person but it also protects society and the money is well spent helping them.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 3/20/2009 11:17:34 AM
Author: strmrdr

Most states have outlawed such limits and it must be treated as any other disease.
Sadly this isn''t true Storm. Most states have some type of parity law, but hardly ANY are comprehensive or broad based parity, which would mean that almost any condition were covered at the same rate as physical ailments. Most states have limited parity or lower, and limited usually means they cover only very **serious** mental health issues (like schitzophrenia, bipolar, psychotic disorders, etc. but usually doesn''t cover things like anxiety and depression), plans can opt out because of cost issues, and there are low benefit ceilings.

So I am afraid that we are still very very far away from outlawing such limits and from true mental health parity.
 

strmrdr

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Date: 3/21/2009 11:31:17 AM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 3/20/2009 11:17:34 AM

Author: strmrdr


Most states have outlawed such limits and it must be treated as any other disease.

Sadly this isn't true Storm. Most states have some type of parity law, but hardly ANY are comprehensive or broad based parity, which would mean that almost any condition were covered at the same rate as physical ailments. Most states have limited parity or lower, and limited usually means they cover only very **serious** mental health issues (like schitzophrenia, bipolar, psychotic disorders, etc. but usually doesn't cover things like anxiety and depression), plans can opt out because of cost issues, and there are low benefit ceilings.


So I am afraid that we are still very very far away from outlawing such limits and from true mental health parity.
It isn't perfect and never will be but it is better than it was in many states.
$5k lifetime limit for mental health care used to be very common.
 

somegirl932

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I am so glad that I was in college when many of my issues came to light. The amount of support and treatment I have gotten from my university, and for free has absolutely spoiled me. I am mildly afraid for the types of services I''ll be missing when I graduate.
 
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