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The Failure of Health Care, Mental Health

 Health and being healthy is not always as simple as it would seem and is not always something that you can see and tell simply by looking at some one else, their is one big aspect of health that often can't easily be seen just by looking at some one and that the only way to actually know about is for them to open up to you and tell you how they are doing, and honestly tell you if anything is wrong.  That is mental health, a subject that even though much effort has been put into trying to destigmatize and is something that still has very negative stigmas attached to much of it and that it is still often quite culturally acceptable to portray in very negative lights and stereotypes.   It is the kind of health that can and is often struggle with in the dark, and where having an issue or even an "disorder" is something that still carries a heavy negative weight with it our culture.  It is also something that even if one is willing to admit that their might be something wrong often takes a whole lot of jumping threw hoops to even start to get help. 

Mental health is something that I would say is a largely over looked part of health in this country short of depression which has had multimillion dollar advertising blitzes by the drug companies, most everything else to do with mental health is a part of health care that is totally divorced from what is considered everyday. It is a part of health care that is even relatively poorly handled in countries that have universal health care but that is, at least from my view even more poorly handled in this country.  It is so poorly handled in the western health care cutler, in no small part due to the negative social stigmas that mental health issues are some how failings of the person that suffers from them, or that they are character flaws etc, that have caused our jails to often become populated by those suffering from mental illness because they are unable to get treatment they turn to ways of trying to self medicate that often land them afoul of the law.  As a society this emphasizes on negative views of mental health, has quite a high cost, a cost in people who aren't able to live as productive and full filled lives as they could, and a tax cost associated with housing them in prison and hospitals because they could not get the help that needed.

Even if one is able to hope threw all the hopes that they need to clear in order to get help, they have to deal with the fact that the negative stigmas that are attached to most mental illnesses are ever present, that it is a big risk to even tell family or friends, let alone the risk that ones employer, or future employers for that fact might find out about it, even if it dose not mean that they are in any way incapable of doing their job.  This is because many employers even if they don't openly admit it would turn down a job to some qualified for that job just because they have a mental disorder even if it is under control.  Not only dose admitting it put at risk in a very real way ones job, it also has another risk of changing the way that others view you and the ways in which they interact with you.  It can cause them to see you as being weak and having a falling and character problems and that is why you have this issue and you are just weak that is why you can't just make it go away.  It can also cause them to treat you with kit gloves like you are some sort of damaged goods or something that might brake and harm them. 

This sort of reaction should really be no surprise in a cutler where mental illness is not portrayed in a balanced light, as any other medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes for example, something that can be treated and where the person with it can live a normal and productive life.   Instead it is portrayed in a light where those that have mental illness are the ones that are dangers, that they are ticking time bombs, the next school/workplace/spree killer when that is not the reality at all. We also have a popular view of those with mental illness as being initially broken and irreparable, as needing to be separated from "normal" people because no matter what they are somehow damaged goods, a totally different way then society treats others with physical health problems, when someone has diabetes society dose not shun them treat them like someone that is broken that needs to be separated out that is a risk to all those around them.   Faith also has a strong roll in this, the tendency to paint metal health issues as being signs that one is not faithful enough or that if only they where truly faithful this issue would be resolved, as if it is some how an manifestation of some sort of evil in their life, or that it is some sort of test that if they are faithful enough will pass.  All of this conspires to cause people to go with out treatment or(and often) diagnosed for health issues that can and do dramatically affect their lives. 

This is something that as a country and as human beings that we should be outraged by, we should not only start by demanding improved systems for providing mental health care, but that we also need to start to be part of the change that we want to see.   We need to start fighting the popular views of mental health and start to make it socially backward and unacceptable for those with mental illness to be portrayed as some how broken or an inherent risk to all those around them.  We need to start to truly demand a balanced view one that includes showing that not only are most people not a threat but that they are productive well adjusted members of society,  it it is going to be the removal of negative social stigmas that the most good will be done.  As with out those stigmas there is so much less to keep people from even starting the process of seeking help, and continuing to receive that help, as well as making changes to their life's that will help to bring about even better positive outcomes in their treatment. It is with the removal of shame,the need to avoid a social (end economical) scarlet letter threw secrecy, , that starts to allow people to realize that they really are not alone, that there are others out there to and that there is hope.

Comments

  1. There is as much stigma surrounding mental health issues, as there is for AIDS, and LBGT people. For some reason we are reduced to our lowest denominator by having/being any of those. And your right, access to mental health care is very limited and for the most part unrealistic. Most plans only cover up to so many visits per year, like mental illness is short term fix.

    Not only do the mentally ill inhabit the jails, they also make up a large percentage of our homeless. And unless our country decides to start dealing the mental health the same way we deal with cancer, a multi forked attack, without any stigma around having a mental issue.

    I think the thing that bothers most people is that its truly a misunderstood disease. Anything that is shadowed in mystery is normally seen as something to fear. But I think one of the reasons its such a stigma to have is it makes other people question their sanity, their mental stability.

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