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Preetam Kaushik Headshot

Mental Health Problems in America: Reforms and Recovery Options

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If you've watched the latest Iron Man film then you would know that even a Marvel superhero can have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even a fictional hero knows that to be free of stress, he must give up the mantle of Iron Man so that he can finally live in peace. Coming back to the real world, the same logic applies. The first step in dealing with mental health issues is to accept that you have a mental health issue. Only then can you take the necessary steps to ratify your situation.

Change in policy: In America, as most people who have been part of some sort of health insurance already know, there have been many debates and discussions regarding the coverage of mental health issues under an individual or family's HMO plan. All this while, if you were to start subscribing to any of the available health insurance plans, chances are none of them would cover any predating condition you might have. With the amount of intricacies written in very fine print one hardly reads on the health agreements, many health insurance companies have managed to deny claims of people. As we step into the National Mental Health Awareness month this May, maybe, just maybe, things will change for the better owing to the latest proclamation by the Barack Obama government.

Reforms are being introduced in the form of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure that the barriers that existed between physical and mental health care are demolished. Before reforms such as these, mental health had always been relegated to the sidelines of health care, with countless insurance plans ignoring the need for financial support aimed towards mental patients.

Why people shy away from treatment. There has been another debate raging about why a lot of people do not get the treatment that is required when it comes to common mental health issues like manic depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or even post traumatic stress disorder. The sides debating are divided on whether mental health treatment is really a financial issue for people, or if it is something more than that. There's also a valid side to this argument that claims that a lot of people who choose not to treat their mental problems do so fearing the negative impacts it can have for future job prospects. This, of course, does point out one glaring negative trend at the workplace. Why should someone who has successfully dealt with mental problems be treated with bias? You don't do the same to someone who has recovered from, say typhoid or a road accident.

Affordability : This, however, does not negate the fact that mental health is too expensive for most Americans. Affordability does become an issue when your insurance company tries to find loopholes in the agreement. The numbers are scary -- over 45 million adult Americans suffered from some kind of mental illness in 2011. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) report that presented these figures also noted that this is almost 19 percent of the whole American adult population. It's not that the children are safe either. The latest Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report revealed that one out of five children suffers from some form of mental illness. Shocking as that is, it is time the policy makers and health officials realize how mental health care needs to be part of a family health insurance plan. The ACA does give some hop to that cause as it prevents insurance companies from denying claims to patients who have predated conditions.

Care Clinics: On the other side of the spectrum, we should also realize that just because a reform lets us treat ourselves and our kids for mental health related problems, we must not let the future generation slip into a culture of prescription drugs. The best treatment for mental health issues is still the love and care of friends and family and an environment that understands the suffering of the patients. Residential care clinics like Bridges to Recovery, Austen Riggs, Academy Street Community Residence, etc. offer services that are often found wanting at home. Through proper research and using the recommendations of experienced doctors, it is quite easy to check into any of these places and let the experts take care of you.