America’s Mental Health Crisis

Youth in America struggle to find resources for mental health assistance, the system needs a change.

Americas Mental Health Crisis

Mental healthcare has always been neglected by America’s healthcare system, considering 1 in every 5 americans struggle from a sort of mental illness and after, 2021 suicide rates skyrocketed after they were starting to decrease.

Resources for mental health, however, are still very limited. 59.8% of youth in America that suffer from major depression go untreated and many families don’t have the insurance or money to help their loved ones get the medication and therapy they need. 37.9 Million Americans are in poverty, and that’s 37.9 million Americans whose health matters just as much as ones who aren’t suffering from poverty. While many other countries offer free health care and affordable colleges to become doctors and psychiatrists, America does not and it is not fair to the citizens struggling daily because of our broken, money-hungry system. In the United States, a session of therapy can cost from $60 to 250 per hourly session for an uninsured person.

Throughout the early 1900’s asylums were more common and served as long term mental health care facilities for people who were considered too unstable to be out doing things on their own, because of the poor conditions and abuse these patients faced these facilities slowly started to shut down. During this time and even after, media would make things like movies for example ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest’, horror books, and even articles which would put such patients in a negative light. Being sent to an asylum was considered an embarrassing thing and that people should be expected to have good mental health. This has built a stigma around people who struggle mentally and cause a lot of people to feel ashamed and refuse to seek help for the sake of pride. 

While asylums back then didn’t understand mental health and were very abusive, the deinstitutionalization of asylums has led to a shortage in facilities for people to go to overall. A student from Sun Prairie West High School mentioned how difficult it was to access mental health hospitals since there are so few places to go and if there are any they are far away, these hospitals tend to have small capacity and rarely have space. This isn’t just a local issue though it’s a national one as many states are now pushing to invest in more psychiatric beds. 

Dr. Thomas Insel is a former longtime head for the national institute of mental health and one of the country’s leading psychologists, he argues that mental health care isn’t being delivered effectively. Insel believes that we should be stopping the problem before it becomes worse, most people don’t receive the care they need until they end up in an emergency room when it could have been prevented beforehand. It’s also important that once the patient is receiving treatment that they receive good treatment that will make an impact on the patient’s future and perspective. Over the past 60 years psychologists have gained mass amounts of knowledge in understanding mental health, meaning the healthcare system has a lot of potential and things to offer but are taking the wrong approach and not putting as much effort as needed. 

We all have met someone whether it was a family member or a friend who struggles with mental health, some of us could have even lost someone to it. It’s important to protect the people we love and care about and it’s time to start taking action for them, while we are lacking workers, resources and stability needed for us to do so there is still hope in the future for this crisis to finally be improved. The system could start off by educating about it to young students and making sure they are aware of in school resources, making health care more affordable and giving people in poverty ways to get it without health insurance.