Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ranting on mental health

I don't get it, why is our mental health system so problematic? If you have studies like this that say 5% of the general population suffers from persistent depression and/or anxiety with only a small percentage actually receiving adequate care, or this one, saying that half of young adults experience a mental disorder, why isn't mental health services at the top of the agenda? I know the passage of the recent mental health parity law is certainly a good thing, but still, there's just so much further to go.

I wish the government, insurance companies, and otherwise would understand how valuable it is to really have a sound mind. Just think how much more productivity there would be within the general population. Maybe, we'll get there some day when everyone can have the mental health coverage they deserve and need. Until then, I'll be holding my breath.


Gaining Back My Life said...

I think part of the proble is that many people still view it as a stigma, as do ins. co's, and so they dont seek help or they are in denial.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, mental health parity is not necessarily a step in the right direction. I was a Federal employee for 4 years and had a terrible time accessing the mental health benefits, and this is an insurance program that highlights mental health parity. I was denied IP treatment twice (after having traveled to the facility very depressed, anxious and ED behaviors galore, but at 80% of IBW. The IP cutoff is 75% IBW)), residential isn't covered at all, and outpatient visits are approved in 8-10 session blocks. As soon progress is made, outpatient visits are limited to 2x/month, then eliminated. While my copay for all mental health services was the same as for other medical services, access was a definite problem. The Federal system is HMO-like (managed by American Behavioral Health I think) for the mental health benefits and is very frustrating.

I've been told the Federal system was very different 8-10 years ago, when access wasn't a problem, and addiction residential rehab was covered in full for months and months.

Let's hope that the recent legislation will be different!

Tiptoe said...

GBML, I agree with you, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Denial too plays a role.

Anon, sorry that your experiences have not been great. I can vouch for having crappy benefits as well. your policy sounds very much like mine with only 10 visits/year. I know my IP requirements would have to met either being very incredibly suicidal or very low body weight to even be considered at all.

I do agree with you that health care used to be different. I have friend who went to Renfrew when it was first opened. She was there for at least six months or so, and that was just the standard.

I too am hoping the mental health care system will get better--at least in the ability to not discriminate and provide some access. I doubt it will ever get to the point that people need, so I guess we have to do what we can for now.

McCarthy said...

Thousands of people around the world suffer from Anxiety Disorders. It can affect everyday life and is capable of leading to a state of depression and more Anxiety attacks. In order to treat someone with an Anxiety Disorder you must know the etiology of the disorder. When the cause is known it becomes easier for the Doctor to prognosis different treatment options. The good news is that, nowadays there are a number of ways apart from the antidepressants drugs (in case you want to know more on this you can check out this link