Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act, which led to the federal government’s involvement in mental health.
Even as one in five Americans struggles with mental illness, the topic is kept in darkness. There has been a surge in the prison population and homelessness due to serious mental illness. Treatment reduces the risk of violent behavior 15-fold in people with serious mental illness.
Mental health care is inhibited by many factors.
▪ Half of mentally ill patients do not recognize they have problems and may resist treatment and medications.
Psychiatrists and psychiatric beds are in short supply, which is exacerbated by Medicaid billing policy.
Privacy rules interfere with the flow of information between health care providers, families and patients, impeding care and public safety.
There is waste and duplication of services between mental health agencies.
Failure to treat those who suffer mental illness is one of the greatest injustices of our generation.
Clinical psychologist Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, has reintroduced HR-2646 “Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act” which addresses many of the above concerns. Please call on your representative to vote for the bill.
Prem D. Singh, M.D., Fresno