Thoughtful & Timely Political Discourse Thru Blue Colored Lenses

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mental Health IS the Issue

E. Steinberg

by Emily Steinberg

Lax guns laws and easy access to guns are a huge problem in the United States and are a major part of the equation of why our country suffers from the violence that we saw explode last Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.

Another piece of the puzzle is our indifferent and sometimes condescending attitude to the mental health needs of our citizens. For a majority of Americans, an understanding of mental health borders on nonexistent. They still view seeing a therapist as weak and antithetical to the American way. Depression and other diseases of the mind are not viewed on the same level of seriousness as cancer or HIV AIDS, but as we saw last weekend, the consequences of such diseases can be just as deadly. Sadly most people don't understand that the intricate and delicate mechanisms of the brain, our most complex organ, can malfunction as readily as a cell can multiply abnormally and become cancerous.

Try buying individual health insurance that covers Mental Health. First of all, you will be charged more for your pre-existing condition. Secondly, if the company does agree to take you on, they refuse any coverage for in-patient therapy, outpatient therapy or medication. In other words, if a citizen wants to be helped, and their insurance won't cover therapy, they are forced to pay, out of pocket, for a life saving treatment. The wealthy can afford this, but most Americans cannot. If they don't want to be helped, our laissez-faire attitude of hands off the individual, will eventually lead to a break down and potentially to a blood bath.

It is an absurd way of treating the health of human beings. We desperately need mental health parity in our health care system. Until we as a country commit to caring for the well being of the entire person, including their mental health, we can expect to see more of these angry and unbalanced rampages.

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