Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mental Illness and It’s Toll

This is an interesting article titled “The Neglect of Mental Illness Exacts a Huge Toll, Human and Economic” The article says: “Mental health care is one of the biggest unmet needs of our time.” There are a lot of people with untreated mental illness in our society today. In recent years the federal government has been trying to right this wrong. Although progress has been slow. One reason is all the budget cuts. Another reason is legal wrangling. It is a drag that everyone cannot be treated. Of course there are some who do not want to be treated although that is a different story.
Mental illness can strike anyone regardless of how rich or poor you are. Although the article states: “…but the strain is acute for people with low incomes. About one in six adults living at just above the poverty line or lower have severe mental health problems.” Then besides getting a mental illness they find they cannot work because of the negative symptoms of this disease. The article goes on to say: “The human and economic toll is enormous yet often hidden. Untreated mental illnesses in the U.S. cost more than $100 billion a year in lost productivity…” That is a lot of productivity lost. With the recession it is hard enough to find work then lose your job to mental illness is tough.
They have been a little successful with insurance, although if you do not have insurance then you are out of luck. “But equalizing coverage means little to those who lack insurance altogether and states are increasingly failing to make provisions for them.” With budget cuts they are making it even harder. The article does say: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010, should help fill these holes. It requires that insurance plans offer “behavioral health” coverage, including mental health and addiction and substance abuse help, as an “essential health benefit.” That should bring some help to some that have insurance or are trying to get it. Hopefully this law will stay even if President does not remain in office.
There is Medicaid for people who do not have insurance. Although if there are cuts to the federal or state budget theses are usually one of the first areas where they feel they can cut is Medicaid and help for the indigent, that, as you know means cutting dollars for people who, according to the article might have mental illness.


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