America's Mental Health Care System

Topics: Health Care

The United States is ranked lowest In terms of health care in the world’s developed countries; even worse is the mental health care system. There is said to be a shortage of almost 100,000 hospital beds for psychiatric care, and from 2009 to 2011 there was a combined budget cut of $4 billion from states. Although many cuts are taking place in the mental health system, more Americans are being diagnosed With a mental illness.

A study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Sen/ices Administration shows that one in five adults have been diagnosed With a mental illness. Many of whom Will not receive any help. Over 42% of untreated adults attribute this to not being able to pay for care. Due to the strict limitations of insurance companies and lack of accessibility to treatment, many patients are left untreated and ignored by America’s health care system. Many insurance companies leave mental health patients without many options and in a constant search for care.

Although the Affordable Care Act made minor improvements in care for mentally Ill patients, there are still many loopholes, One line of the Affordable Care Act states that unless patients are at “imminent risk” of harming themselves or others, they may be able to transfer to outpatient care. Insurance companies call hospitals almost daily to check if an inpatient is ready to be discharged. Many times the insurance companies Will go against the recommendations of the psychiatrists and doctors and discharge a patient anyway. When this happens the family of the patient is left With a difficult decision.

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They can either pay the tens of thousands of dollars for the care that their family member requires, or they Will have to go back to outpatient care and hope for the best. An example of this is the case of Katherine West. She was only 12 when she started self- harming, by 14 she was diagnosed as Bulimic. She was admitted into a hospital after doctors recommended a 12 week treatment which would cost $50,000 out of pocket.

Their insurance company decided she was ready to be discharged after only six weeks and since her family could not handle the financial burden, she went home. After only a few weeks. Katherine’s mother found her dead due to heart failure after she began purging again, An estimate by the National Institute of Mental Health states that 2/3 of children with lifelong mental illnesses Will not receive treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cut $168 million from their budget in 2013. Such drastic budget decreases such as these is the reason of the shortage of treatment faCilities and high prices that go along With them. Creigh Deeds and his son Gus Deeds are a good example of the tragedies that occur due to the lack of availability. Gus Deeds Was the son of Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds. Gus was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in his early 205.

He became very angry and Creigh decided that he needed treatment urgently. Because Gus was over 18, his father had to get a court order to hospitalize him, Creigh only had six hours to find a hospital with an open bed and not one appeared, The next morning, Gus had stabbed his father and then went on to kill himself, Because there are so many people are left untreated, many suffering from mental illness end up homeless or in jail. The cost incarceration, welfare, and damages to public facilities all surpass the cost of treatment. Unfortunately. many people suffering from mental illness are failed by the mental health care system in America. The strict limitations of insurance companies and the lack of available space in treatment facilities result in many unsuccessful cases of treatment. Until people realize the graVity of this situation, nothing Will be done to fix the system.

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America's Mental Health Care System. (2023, Mar 21). Retrieved from

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