The State of Mental Health in America
Mental health patients boarding for long hours, even days, in emergency departments awaiting transfer into psychiatric facilities have become a considerable and widespread problem. Tragedies, such as shootings, make the public momentarily aware of behavioral health issues, but most mental health problems, for example: suicides, debilitating depression, alcoholism, addiction to prescription drugs, children’s inability to focus or attend school and productivity lost are rarely understood.
In several respects, 2008 was a watershed year for mental health in America. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 increased access to care for mental health patients. Unfortunately, however, the Act has never been fully implemented. The loss of jobs and income in the economic recession of 2008 hit working families, causing a spike in depression and anxiety for this population. Regrettably, during that recession, mental health budgets were cut; available beds were reduced and community services were slashed. The result is that many psychiatric hospitals continue to operate with downsized workforces staffed by fewer psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers than needed.
Today, patients requiring behavioral health services are being shifted into more costly and less effective settings, such as hospitals and law enforcement units. Many are seen in emergency rooms or sent to community hospitals that don’t have mental health units. Others are transferred to other law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. Often patients do not receive the appropriate mental health care for their needs. Additionally, many patients are not properly integrated into society after receiving what is considered palliative treatment a crisis-oriented protocol that dramatically reduces the opportunity for long-term recovery and makes the patient susceptible to recurring crisis events.
SUN Behavioral Health is committed to interrupting this escalating and dangerous cycle. We solve unmet behavioral health care needs by working collaboratively with health care professionals and local communities to create appropriate services delivered in the finest facilities at the highest standards of care.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Mental Health America