When Will We Care Enough About Mental Health?

In Carrie Fisher’s departure, her heart was collateral damage to her mental health disease. Scientific evidence indicates that being mindful of your daily routines to promote maximum physical health can be sidetracked by mental illness and its direct effects on the body. The general sense that if you exercise, eat right, and rest we stand a fighting chance of living a prolonged life. But that formula doesn’t necessarily work when mental health is being discussed.

We have physiatrists, psychologists and more that operate in the field of the human psyche. But with a diagnosis does not come a uniform treatment for the specific illness. Mental health treatments are continuous and come at a cost, they shouldn’t be limited to those who can afford them. We all think about the strain and the gratitude of our advanced health care, but avoiding treatment because of cost should not be a factor in seeking treatments. With the presumed rollback by both commercial and government insurance environments, how do we address the concerns of addiction, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more financially? The Senate has just released its version of the House bill, but it may be too soon to fully understand how treatment options will be financially covered by the recent legislation. We are aware of the challenges and now is the time to pour resources into the treatment and rehabilitation process. Shouldn’t we ask why these visits are approached differently than when we access our regular physicians throughout the year.

Look around at the growing numbers of mental health related homelessness, suicides, violent acts, and other physical trauma. They add an extra strain on the industry as a whole, and are not being addressed properly. Imagine now, the lowered number of emergency room visits as a result of direct treatment of these mental health issues.

A very close friend of mine took a leap of faith and changed his career path because of his identification of this “at risk” patient population. He was concerned that if he didn’t do his part in helping maintain access and affordability to those suffering, that our exposure to much more difficult scenarios would grow in numbers and severity. I too am concerned that many of our citizens will become left behind when we had a chance to make a difference.