“The mental health system is broken.” This phrase is now used with great regularity by the popular media, politicians, “advocacy” organizations, and even governments themselves responsible for delivering mental health services (a Google search of the phrase in quotes turned up over 51,000 search results). Related to endorsement of this statement are beliefs that mental health service providers fail in their responsibility to prevent mass shootings (endorsed by nearly half of Americans), that homelessness is caused by deinstutionalization, and that community mental health systems abandon people released from psychiatric hospitals with no aftercare follow-up. The New York Times, speaking from its editorial page platform this past June, went so far as to proclaim that no one disagrees that the current community-based mental health system is a “colossal failure” (with the recommendation that more people with mental illnesses need to be … [Read more...] about Is the Mental Health System “Broken”?
Statewide forensic mental health service
The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law last December, was hyped as the most far-reaching reform of the nation’s mental health system in decades. To families caring for a relative with serious mental illness (SMI), the hype is overblown. The Act aspires to the lofty goals of preventing and curing serious mental illness in the future, but fails to provide much-needed support for individuals and families struggling with mental illness today. Previous mental health reforms, beginning in the 1960s, resulted in hundreds of thousands of patients with serious mental illness being discharged from state mental hospitals. The expectation was that former patients would live with their families, while receiving outpatient care from a network of federally funded community mental health centers. Unfortunately, the outpatient services never materialized in any systematic way. The reality, instead, was that families became the primary caregivers for many patients with even the most … [Read more...] about A Lost Opportunity for Mental Health Reform?
Source: Gloria Williams on Flickr, Creative Commons On April 26, 2015, 19-year-old Timothy Henderson, a resident of the North West Territories in Canada, was taken off life support after sustaining self-harm injuries, the culmination of a long battle with depression and other mental health issues. Beginning in adolescence, Timothy struggled with symptoms of ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome (Autism spectrum). When he felt overwhelmed by his condition, he reached out for support, but felt dismissed, and began to lose hope that the help he needed would be available. Shortly before his death, Timothy admitted himself to Stanton Territorial Hospital for the fifth time in a year, where he again disclosed details about a tendency to self-harm. He was released two days later, without adequate follow-up or a long-term care plan. Later that month, he sustained self-inflicted injuries that led to his death. Timothy’s case is not uncommon in the Northwest Territories, a remote … [Read more...] about Remote Northwest Territories Lacking Mental Health Care
Source: Freepik According to a recent article in the Guardian, a major hike in tuition fees at English universities coincided with a surge in students seeking mental health counseling for anxiety and depression. Does this relationship help explain the ever-increasing mental health demands at American universities? But before looking at the numbers, let’s consider this question more fully. If true, this would suggest that the number of those seeking mental health counseling at high-ticketed private universities would be greater than those at state universities. Yet, more parents may pay for tuition costs at the high-ticketed universities, thereby taking pressure off the student. Or, conversely, it could add pressure by keeping the student obligated to excel, and even worse keep the student dependent upon one’s parents, thereby preventing emotional growth. For … [Read more...] about Tuition Fees and Mental Health
Source: thisisbossi at flickr, Creative Commons Brian, a graduate from a university in California, struggled financially and emotionally. He often experienced anxiety, panic, and shame about his student loans. Upon graduating, Brian moved to Germany, and to this point, has not paid back a cent of his debt. So long as Brian continues to live abroad, earns a living in a foreign country, does not pay U.S. taxes, and does not collect social security, loan companies are unable to contact him. Brian’s story of “debt dodging” is just one way, albeit extreme, some students cope with the stress of educational loans, which play a very large role in higher education in North America. And Brian is not the only student who has left his home, family, and friends to escape. In Canada, average student debt estimates hover in the mid-to-high $20,000 range. This estimate is close to the $26,300 figure that many students said they expected to owe after graduating, according … [Read more...] about Crushing Debt Affects Student Mental Health