Respond to he following : about 8 lines each wih references
Mental Health Crisis in America
How can one fight an enemy they cannot see? How can we measure an “illness” without a lab value or scan to look at? How does one prevent mental illness? Mental illness cannot be prevented. The harsh reality is mental health does not discriminate. Mental health does not care about age, gender, socioeconomic status, or even political party. In 2004, the World Health Organization stated that mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada. I, personally, understand the struggles of Americans living with mental illness. I suffer from a panic disorder that stems from CPTSD. I have to see a medical provider to prescribe my medication, I have to see a therapist that thankfully my insurance covers, and there was a time when I had to utilize FMLA until I was well enough to return to work in a proper mindset. I am one of few Americans whom are fortunate to have access to these resources. What about the rest of Americans? What about those who do not have jobs, insurance, or money to pay for medications? What do they do? Many of those Americans depend on government reform and federal resources for help. To better understand the government’s influence on the mental health crisis in America lets reflect on the current presidential administration and their response to the mental health crisis in America, as well as a prior presidential administration.
Joe Biden Administration Response
Joe Biden began his presidency in the midst of a global pandemic. Consequently, many Americans struggled with their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans lost their jobs, could not pay their bills, lost loved ones to COVID-19, went long periods of time on lockdowns which prevented them from seeing loved ones, an much more. Biden’s team recognized that they needed to provide Americans with more tools to combat mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden Administration vowed to provide approximately $2.5 billion in funding to states and US territories to assist individuals suffering with mental illness and addiction crisis. The US Department of Health & Human Services is going to utilize a grant program titled “The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG)”. This program will makes funds accessible to all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to provide community mental health services (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). It is still too early to determine the success of the MHBG, however, in my opinion it was a step in the right direction to assist struggling Americans at this time.
George W. Bush Administration Response
George W. Bush also recognized the importance of American’s mental health. Bush didn’t have to lead Americans through a global pandemic, but he did have to lead Americans through the worst terrorist attack on American soil – September 11, 2001. Bush’s administration pushed for adequate mental health insurance coverage for Americans in the early 2000s with hopes that Americans could access the services they need to manage their mental illness. In September of 2007 the senate passed an expanded mental health parity bill titled “The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act”. Senator Pete Domenici was a cheerleader of this bill and was quoted as saying, “I believe this bill sets the stage for us to enact a national policy that will ensure individuals with mental illness have parity between mental health coverage and medical and surgical coverage. It is a manner of simple fairness” (Kelly, 2009, page 91). On October 3, 2008 the bill was signed into federal law. Now a federal law, The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires insurance coverage for mental health conditions, including disorders related to substance abuse, to be no more restricting than insurance coverage for other medical conditions (American Psychiatric Association, 2021).
Prior to this assignment, I was unaware of all of the programs that our government has in place for Americans suffering with mental illness, and I have worked in healthcare for 10 years! If I could do anything different than Biden & Bush’s Administration, I would place a lot of focus on using funds to build mental health facilities. My reason for that is due to experiences I have had while working as an RN with psychiatric patients. For four years of my career I worked in an ER that housed a psychiatric unit within itself. I often staffed this unit and a majority of the time I would have to transfer patients from the psych holding area in the ER to an outside facility for residential treatment. It was during this time that I realized how few facilities there were to utilize. It was not uncommon to have a psychiatric patient in “holding” for up to a week because the three facilities that accepted them had no beds currently available. I often had to send pediatric psych patients to other states for treatment because there are only two facilities that they can use and they are often full. I do think there needs to be a push to create inpatient facilities in all states so patients do not have to cross state lines for adequate treatment.
A topic that rises to the presidential level that we are all too familiar with is pandemic response. On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was notified of the novel coronavirus by Chinese health officals (Summers et al., 2020). According to the WHO, nearly 4.5 million people worldwide have since died from the COVID-19 virus (2021). Within the last twenty years, attention turned to the need for an evidence-based approach in government decision making, stemming from the sciences and medicine (Solinas-Saunders, 2020). Under the Trump administration, Solinas-Saunders (2020) argues that by the time the virus was detected in Seattle, WA, the situation was already out of control because the government relied more on political instinct and less on science and information. Had the administration under President Trump created evidence-based protocols and implemented policies guided by science, the transmission of the virus could have been greatly reduced (2020).
From the initial identification of the virus and its rapid spread, 460,000+ deaths ensued in the Americas (WHO, 2020), and only seven were reported in Taiwan (Summers et al., 2020). Under the Taiwanese government, strict masking policies, strict screening procedures, government monitored quarantine, etc. were employed, keeping transmission rates incredibly low. Utilizing experiences from previous influenza pandemics, Taiwan assisted in keeping their citizens safer and healthier than those in the US (2020). According to Misztal (2021), “the most lasting impacts of the pandemic will be decreasing public trust and increasing political upheaval (p.33).”
I agree with Misztal’s statement and believe that a more financially robust approach by the US government under Trump’s administration, similarly to Clinton’s approach to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, would have benefited our country and improved numbers globally (Paules et al., 2017). In addition to more funding for COVID-19 research, I believe the government should have been stricter regarding masking and screening, especially because the use of masks were proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. I recall at the beginning of the pandemic, my hospital advised staff not to wear masks in the halls, as it would incite panic. This is the exact mindset that prevented forward thinking and a timelier response to the pandemic.