As a mental health care professional, I am passionate about my profession and what it can do to help people not only in crisis but in preventing a crisis. Since the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I am horrified by the state of our current mental health care system and am reminded there are many Adam Lanza’s among us not being treated.
In a recent article by Ron Honberg, NAMI Director of Policy and legal affairs, he wrote: “It’s far easier to buy a gun in the U.S. than to access mental health care. We rally around people diagnosed with other conditions, such as diabetes or cancer. We shun people with symptoms of possible mental illness and erect barriers to treatment”
Since 2008, America has cut $4 billion from its already ailing public mental health system. Many community mental health programs have disappeared and more than 4,000 psychiatric hospital beds have been eliminated. For too many, even basic mental health care is illusory. People can’t get help until they go into crisis.
And even then mental health care is inadequate!
It is my hope that our mental health care services increase, become more available and affordable and that counseling is regarded as preventative treatment rather than something to be avoided and utilized only for the “mentally ill”.