The year of 2015 has been a period of unrest and upheaval for the traditional mental health care model. Within the United States, many individuals and families afflicted by psychological issues have grown tired of the current state of the mental health care field. The time between scheduling one’s appointments and seeing an actual physician can span months. And when a person does see someone who can help, time is limited as many others seek the same required attention. While this pattern has become familiar to a growing demographic of underserved people, the call for change appears to have reached a peak in the previous months.
The most notable development occurred in January with Kaiser Permanente’s massive strike across California. Although a competitive force in the treatment of medical diseases and disorders, the company had maintained a prolonged lack of support for mental health. Matters escalated when Kaiser was fined $4 million for their magnitude of neglect. While this should have inspired a positive change in the overall system, its staff believes that the progress has not come fast enough. About 2,600 of Kaiser’s mental health workers and hundreds from its other departments participated in an act of solidarity, which aimed to highlight the many citizens at risk due to the treatment provider’s understaffed psychiatric department. Since then, support for policy change and a focus on mental health have continued to expand in various communities.
A deficient supply of mental health professionals translates into unmanageable patient loads and the administrative delays that result. For serious mental disorders, diagnosis and treatment must address the issue as soon as possible to ensure the most successful recovery takes place. The national prevalence of mental illness has risen to 61.5 million and an overwhelming 60 percent of that population hasn’t received any care. As these stats continue to grow, billions of potential earnings are lost each year to treating these commonly preventable ailments.
On the other side of the equation, many treatment providers and other clinical facilities are not adequately equipped to combat this mounting dilemma. Both primary care doctors and mental health experts agree that there are not enough psychiatrists, psychologists and other licensed staff members to care for patients with these issues. Due to this, many people who seek help are redirected to their primary care physician or even a general practitioner for detailed mental assessments and recovery plans. These increasing patient loads are now spilling into all sectors of health care, leading to an unsatisfactory attitude toward the field that should be better associated with wellness.
The general discontent and weariness with the current state of mental health treatment appears to have a correlation with the popularity of privatized treatment programs. Similar to the 1960s, the flaws and limits of psychiatric care have now come to light. Back then, the governmental and public response was a call to action. President Kennedy issued a statement for the growing population of suffering individuals to receive the care they deserve by establishing community treatment facilities, where time and attention could be efficiently provided. While the promise was made half a century ago, now is as good a time as any to fulfill it.
Sovereign Health Group is a safe and supportive treatment provider that caters to the needs of various patients suffering with mental disorders and substance addictions. If you or a loved one needs help with any of these issues, please contact Sovereign Health online or call us (866) 819-0427 at any time to talk to a member of our team.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer