There is so much more to mental health than this piece. Don’t ignore the growing epidemic.
The current mental health system in the US is chaotic with the general treatment of unfortunate mental health patients in America being ignored. Needing treatment is a far cry from getting it. And then there’s the fact that the frenzied system is facing a massive mental health epidemic.
We are finding that many people suffering from conditions cannot find the help they need and are ending up stranded on the streets begging for help. In 2014, it was an estimated that 200,000 were homeless, and 350,000 were incarcerated. It’s unfortunate. Communities tend to reject the serious mentally ill to shelters, prisons and the streets. States have been begging for funding and better training for years.
All of this indicates the journey to substance abuse and violence for comfort.
Mental disorders affect thinking, feeling, mood, or all with each person having a different experience. It is argued that the connection between the underlying causes are genetics, environment and lifestyle are the key to wellness. When it’s brought up, depression, anxiety, panic, schizophrenia and PTSD are usually mentioned. These conditions radiate through America with 1 in 17 people living with a serious mental illness. 50% of these mental disorders begin by the age of 14 rising to 75% by the age of 24. Additionally, coping with stress can create a person’s disorder.
So where could have we adverted the crisis?
A great example would be mental health and teens. 1 out of 5 live with a mental illness developing between 14 and 24. At a time of self-awareness, many teens try to cope with their issues independently sometimes turn to drugs to settle their disorder If the aftermath Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons why’ told us anything, it’s that mental health is still in the dark ages of its causes, actions, and reactions. That alone sheds light as to why those with mental illnesses get the cold shoulder. The fact that normal behavior and the progression of personality during adolescence mimic and mask symptoms makes it all the more critical.
America has heavily relied on medications for relief from mental illness for generations and generally, the intention is to be beneficial. They influence the brain cells and have brought humans forward from a sadistic past saving many lives. Allowing patients to deal with depression, psychotic episodes, anxiety, and extreme mood swings while living a wealthy life was now possible.
However, many medications hold severe side-effects: memory loss, severe fatigue, isolation resolution, changes in personality to name a few. Ignoring the fact that more that stronger prescriptions is needed in most cases to maintain wellness. It paves the way when it comes to the risks in relieving mental symptoms. Doctors don’t address the underlying issue. Not to mention with rogue doctors exploiting a situation. Many medications are abused to the point when where the current situation begins to leak into many other circumstances.
It is being shown that many of the inmates incarcerated are suffering from mental problems. The prison system has many flaws. Throwing mentally ill patients behind bars is one of them. It is estimated that 14% of the inmates in federal prisons and 26% in state and county jails met the levels for serious psychological stress. Between the state and county, about 40% were told they have a mental disorder. 31% of those reported a major depressive disorder. Something to think about: There is a higher percentage of females incarcerated with mental health issues. Prescription medication is the common treatment. An overseen issue with the treatment is that many inmates already have addiction issues.
A study in Iowa state prison showed almost 50% of their inmates had a serious mental illness with 29% suffering from substance abuse. 90% is recognized by the 6th year of incarceration and almost all felons were diagnosed while doing their time. Unfortunately by the time all of this happens, the damage is done.
Sadly, those who are subjected to be tortured by their disorder may face their own demise by their own hands. The main risk includes depression and substance abuse. Linkage to this seen as suicidal ideations, social withdraws, mood swings, and reckless behaviors. Sound familiar?
And what happened to patient’s rights?
While issues with mental health policy have progressed it still has ways to go. Patients being discriminated and rights are denied, lack of access to resources, not being able to make their own informed decision, and overcrowded state hospitals has been ground zero to the chaos in treating mental health. 2/3 of children with mental health issues do not have access to care and the criminal justice system just tosses them in jail at the prime age of treatment. For something so important, there a lot of obstacles.
As far as the issues with mental health and prisons, to ignore it is to prove that the function of incarceration isn’t to rehabilitate, but rather, as we thought, just to hold. Can people really say that the proper treatment is provided in prisons? Should we turn our backs? Assume someone else will deal with it? Mental health professionals are still working on progressing the proper way to treat individuals with conditions as they are finding out generalizing may not be the right way to go about things. Is prison or without shelter the place to be to do that?