Shortages & Stigma (I’m Talking To YOU, Mr. President) #MentalHealth

“At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country.  Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, its still an illness, and there should be no distinction.”

-Michelle Obama

 

Recently, Empowered Partnerships LLC wrote an article for the Denver Business Journal discussing the great disparity between the demand and need for mental health services for the communities across the country and the deep depression-like shortage of supply of professionals to provide that care.

To read Empowered Partnerships’ article in the Denver Business Journal, click here:

Why I’ll trade you improved mental health policies for job shortages in the industry

 

With the election of Donald J. Trump, a new era has been ushered for the healthcare industry.  The system has already spend years adapting to the changes made with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the previous administration.  

Under the current administration, the fate of the ACA is unclear.

However, it’s important we continue this discussion not just on a community-based scale but on a national (or better yet global) scale.  This is a topic that affects every living breathing person on this earth.  It is a topic that applies to everyone who has lived any length of life on earth.  It is not a topic to be taken lightly or disregarded, as many like to do.

To take the stance of “I don’t care because this doesn’t apply to me” is like sticking one’s head in the proverbial sand.  While we often seem to prefer to feel as if we are impervious to mental health or mental illness, the fact is… we are not.  This ugly instinct is also known as stigma.  A persistent animal who wreaks havoc in even the most progressive of minds.

No one is untouched by mental health.  It is the exact same thing as no one is untouched by physical health.  Our bodies and our minds are one.

Likewise, we need to as a nation (I’m talking to you Mr. President) once and for all, recognize this fact.  How can we even think of prioritizing the care of broken bones over cancer treatment?  Both equally important and both need to be allocated as priorities within our health care system.  It is the same when we say, ‘mental health is optional.’  It is not.

“It seems to be the great irony of the ACA that we have recognized the need for mental and behavioral health services in health care.  Yet, we do not provide resolutions as to helping organizations and communities cope with the explosion of need and shortage in supply.”

-Quote from Why I’ll trade you improved mental health policies for job shortages in the industry, by Ashley Lane Boyle & Empowered Partnerships LLC

Therefore, we need to develop our nation’s systems of providing proper, reasonable, and equal mental health care as a priority for all.

In the United States alone, we have a deepening disparity between the demand for mental health care and the supply of professionals able to provide that care.  This includes Psychiatrist, Clinicians, Therapist, Counselors, Psychiatric Nurses and many more.

To illustrate this point, you can think of it as a ratio: 80/20

80 stands for the demand for mental health services and providers, while 20 stands for the current workforce of professionals who are able to provide care to their communities.

This is what I mean when I say “deep disparity.”

So whats to be done about this?

While this is definitely a global issue, lets start locally.

I’m going to quote myself again (lol)…

“While mental health is definitely a global issue, the best place to start is locally.  Begin by learning how your local government works and who would be best for you to contact (or “Who will care about my cause the most?”).  Create a message, get others involved, contact your legislators, build relationships with members of Congress and let your perspective be heard.  Remember to practice “PPS” in your communication: be Persistent, Personal, and Specific with your cause.  Phone calls always speak louder than emails, but in-person meetings will get you the most points.  No matter if you’re a Phone-Fanatic, an Email-Diva or an In-Person-Adventurer, make contact and communicate often.” 

When you have the opportunity to attend a lecture or political event about mental health, go.

”Over time, each of our individual contributions will combine to blaze a trail for all American’s mental health care, today and in the future.”