Day 21 #NHBPM: Mental Health

Prompts: Create a new technology related to health or Write about Mental Health

I thought about using a bonus prompt today. I am not the most technologically savvy person so I knew I did not have any ideas regarding the first prompts. And the words “mental health” make me uncomfortable. I found myself cringing and squirming in my seat when I read them – and I thought writing about them would make me even more uncomfortable.

But then I realized something. For me, having a healthy body did not start until I had a healthy mind.  A quick Google searched revealed some pretty startling (at least to me) statistics on mental health

  • 32.4 % or roughly 75 million Americans suffer from a mental disorder every year.
  • In the last year 11.4 million American suffered from severe mental illness and 8.7 million adults contemplated suicide.
  • Almost 2 million teens experienced a major depressive episode in the last year.
  • And only about 60% of those suffering with a mental disorder get treatment.

 

Think about it 40% of those suffering with a mental illness are not receiving treatment.  Why?  I think (and this is just my opinion) there are two major reasons:  a) cost and b) social stigma.  Healthcare is expensive – and mental health is often not covered by some insurance plans.  And even if the therapy or medications are covered, the patient’s out of pocket expenses are still high. For example, I have a family member who pays nearly $200 a month of medication to treat depression.   But the big issues is a fear of social stigma.

Nobody wants to be labeled as “the crazy one” or told she has “snakes in her head”. And yes, those are direct quotes that I have heard in reference to people I know with mental illnesses.  As advance as we are as a society, we still treat mental health patients much like we did in the early 1800’s.  Granted, we don’t lock them away in mental wards. No their prison is much more subtle – we block them out of social events, family functions, and normalcy all because they have a chemical imbalance, which causes them to suffer a disorder.

That’s just plain wrong.

I am not sure how we can change this. But we have too.  If we want to be a society that is healthy, we must first start by ensuring that ALL of our members have the help they need to overcome their mental illness.

 

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