When we see people say things like, “we need more of a spotlight on mental health”, we laugh. Mental health in America is a problem. Everyone knows it and everyone speaks about it. Various statistics are constantly being thrown around. Famous people have been coming out left and right discussing the serious issues we are facing. Unfortunately though, it’s just that – all talk.
It’s great that we are talking about mental health, but we have been doing so for years now. While we understand that it’s a gradual process, we also realize that it’s time for a solution already.
Many people will counter with, “but mental health is complex. There are hundreds of mental health classifications/disorders. There’s no one solution to all.” Although they would technically be correct, there are some things that can have a large, positive impact in general, which can ultimately lead to overcoming the problem altogether. Let’s go through some of these solutions.
Community Services & Groups
Imagine a world in which group therapy was readily available in every community. This isn’t a far-fetched idea. One in five U.S. adults suffer from a mental health disorder, so chances are that several hundred to several thousand people in your city or town are dealing with a disorder. While ideally, a group therapy session would be overseen by a licensed therapist, it doesn’t need to be this way, at least to start.
Licensed therapists are great for recognizing issues and giving a professional diagnosis, while having the ability to refer their patients to a psychiatrist for medication. However, pills aren’t the only thing that a person with a mental health disorder needs. They need a support network – not just to get them through their issues but also to help integrate them back into society (i.e. assistance with getting a job).
Community integration and participation helps greatly. This is why Alcohol Anonymous is so popular and is known to truly help alcoholics. It’s largely about the support network.
High Quality Mental Health Resource
Go ahead and search for information on how to get help. Where to get evaluated. Where to get treatment. Where to speak to someone. Who to speak to. Heck, look for a government website that provides information on mental health resources that actually work. Most people won’t find it.
Instead of government websites listing usual mental health resources that don’t work, these websites should focus on providing access to helplines (not just the National Suicide Prevention Hotline). People oftentimes spend weeks figuring out the right place to call. Today, there are many services that offer live chat and 24-hour assistance for all mental health disorders.
As noted above, we continue to talk about mental health, but unfortunately the stigma is still there. This holds people out of therapy. Or, for a myriad of other reasons, people don’t get the help they need.
Fear plays a large role in why people don’t go to therapy. Distance and lack of service providers is also a huge issues, as most of the nation doesn’t have access to a local licensed professional. In short, up until recently, a majority of Americans didn’t have adequate mental health care access.
That has changed with the advent of online therapy. There are dozens of companies that offer this type of therapy. While there are some drawbacks, there are numerous benefits to it that help overcome stigma, fear and many other things that often hold people back from getting therapy.
These are just three small examples of how we can overcome the mental health conundrum we are facing today. However, there are many more that we can come up with. Furthermore, it won’t take a lot of money or resources to fix the issues at hand.
All we need to do is a little outside the box thinking, a little less talking, and more doing.