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The number of people that experience mental illness neglect is heart-breaking and downright appalling. And it shouldn’t be happening.
There is no acceptable excuse for how people with mental illness are treated by our health care system. It makes me truly sick to realize what people have to go through just to get help.
When you’re already struggling with a mental illness, trying to get help is an enormous task within itself. But when you are put on a mile long wait list before you can even be seen by a professional, it’s extremely discouraging.
And that’s IF you even make it that far. Most cannot afford insurance, and even if they have insurance, it only covers so much of the cost.
And sure, you can go through your local city or county Department of Social Services, but you’ll have to jump through hoops before they even make you an appointment to be seen, which can also take weeks. When you are in the middle of a mental health crisis, YOU DON’T HAVE WEEKS.
There are people who are desperate, begging for help…and the majority of the time, they are turned away. Those who struggle with mental illnesses typically find very little compassion or understanding.
And when another victim of mental illness neglect shows up on the news, typically accompanying a seemingly random act of violence, society jumps up onto their soap boxes, placing blame everywhere except for where the blame should be appropriately placed – our mental healthcare system.
People rant and rave about, “How were these people allowed to get a weapon?” and even have the nerve to say, “It’s sad that they wouldn’t go get some help”. Comments like these only add to the problem.
The average person has absolutely no idea of the staggering amount of neglect that people with mental illnesses suffer with.
Anyone who thinks with an ounce of logic will know damn good and well that guns, knives, bombs, and any other weapon are not to blame. Neither is the person suffering from a mental illness. Nobody asks to be mentally ill.
Our healthcare system is to blame. They have failed these people who desperately needed help. Those of you who fail to realize this, and who choose not to properly educate themselves on the subject, are to blame.
When are we going to stand up and fight for the things we need to be fighting for? The things that are actually worth fighting for? That need to be fought for? When?
No one wants to be held accountable, but the fact is, collectively, in one way or another, WE ARE ALL TO BLAME. Our priorities are so skewed in this world, it’s absurd. When are we going to get it together, people?
I’ve compiled a list of ten shocking truths about mental illness neglect that I’m hoping will enlighten those of you who are in the dark about what it’s like to be mentally ill, and how you’re treated if you’re diagnosed with a mental illness.
Mental Illness Neglect – The Shocking Reality
- People who are diagnosed with a mental illness are the most discriminated against and neglected group in the U.S.
- Those who are mentally ill and have nowhere to go typically find little or no sympathy from those around them – often ending up in emergency rooms, county jails and on city streets
- The U.S. has become one of the worst places in the developed world to be mentally ill
- Suicide claims the lives of 38,000 Americans a year — more than car accidents, prostate cancer or homicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control
- The U.S. treats people with mental illness like second class citizens – uneducated citizens contribute to this by attaching stigmas, casting unfounded and misinformed judgement and using blame displacement tactics
- The life span of someone who suffers from a mental illness is cut short by over 20 years, compared to someone who does not
- Half of all Americans struggle with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia at some point in their lifetimes
- Mental illness neglect is actually bankrupting our healthcare system – and draining money from the economy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders are treatable diseases. Boosting access to effective treatments by implementing policy solutions that prioritize mental health services would save in excess of $475 billion dollars annually
- If people are treated early enough, and their symptoms are kept under control with proper education, therapy and medication, they are far less likely to end up losing control, preventing tragic events from occurring at all
Knowledge is power when it comes to mental illness neglect
There is some sort of societal breakdown in educating and understanding those who suffer with mental illness. Why that is, or what started this stigma has had unfortunate consequences. The repercussions of not taking mental illnesses seriously are tragic, yet completely avoidable.
If you take anything away from this, please, understand that mental illness is, in fact, a disease. It’s not something that anyone asks to have. It’s lonely, debilitating, and frustrating, not to mention exhausting. Educate yourselves, please.
Especially before you decide to rant and complain, or make fun of someone dealing with a mental illness.
Imagine having to fight with yourself and your thoughts every single day of your life, and having very little control over how you’re feeling. Imagine the intense amount of pain, anger and sadness someone has to feel, with no control over it.
What most fail to see, is what’s beyond that person’s illness. Who they are underneath their sickness. Depending on the diagnosis, with treatment, these are just normal people who just want to live a normal life. They just want to feel peace, to be accepted, and know contentedness.
I’m just speaking the truth, from the heart, and from personal experience with mental illness. For some of you, the truth can be a hard pill to swallow – but sometimes you’ve gotta suck it up, open your mouth, and swallow that pill.
I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m trying to be real.
“Depression is such a cruel punishment.There are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests to send people scurrying in concern, just the slow erosion of self, as insidious as cancer. And like cancer, it is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door.” – Martha Manning