According to U.S. DALY’s graphs on Mental Health awareness, there is an epidemic with how patients suffering from mental health are not receiving the proper treatment they need to be able to manage their illnesses properly. Although there are many healthcare organizations offering patients the treatment they need, most patients are either under-insured or in denial due to their mental health statuses.
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Mental health illness can be hereditary or socially adapted. Some patients’ professional careers are also a contribution to their mental health issues, such as military-related trauma, such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or Bipolar disorder. Alcohol and drug abuse are also contributors of worsening the problems due to self-treatment to suppress underlying issues and sometimes pain management and given the nature of illness, social workers provide the gatekeeping and triage function roles. They are the first to be in contact with individuals with psychiatric conditions. Their attitudes and treatment preferences in their practice settings can either promote treatment seeking among their clients (Ahmedani, 2011).
“Many mental health disorders are temporary and have minimal effects on personal functioning (Young,2018).” This statement seems to be a bit unreal but statistically accurate. It goes on to say that “A subgroup of the population who are diagnosed with mental illnesses is classified as having a serious mental illness which interferes with functional impairment and life activities.
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaskan Natives had the highest number in suffering from severe mental health illness in the United States in 2014 (Young,2018). Hispanic females 18-25 and White males 28-49 trailed the higher numbers by a slim margin. The other races fell below 17 percent. Although these are the numbers from five years ago, with all the news stories surrounding mental health and substance abuse related crimes, the numbers are higher today.
Hispanic women (18-25), and black women (50 plus), white males (28-49), had a higher rate of substance abuse and mental health illnesses in the United States during the year 2014 (Young,2018). It also suggests that white males, around the same ages of 26-49 are trailing the Hispanic women numbers and American Indian/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander races are at much higher percentages. The Asian population appears to have the lowest numbers where substance abuse and mental health disease is concerned.
Diseases and Disorders
When it comes to the leading diseases and disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders are the highest rate of disease disorders in the United States in 2010 (Young,2018). Cardiovascular and circulatory disease was in second place, Neoplasm third, and Musculoskeletal disorder fourth. All others, such as blood and endocrine disease, chronic respiratory diseases, non-communicable diseases, unintentional injuries (non-transport, self-harm and interpersonal violence, and transport illnesses all fell at eight percent or lower. The lowest was transport illnesses at three percent.
Major depressive disorder was at an all-time high of three-point seventy three percent. It was amazingly surprising that drug use disorders were lower at two-point sixty one percent. Anxiety disorder fell slightly lower at two-point twenty-eight percent. All others fell at one point forty percent or lower. These disorders are alcohol use disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, autism and asperger’s disorders, ADHD and conduct disorders, other mental and behavioral disorders, Idiopathic intellectual disability, etc. “Disorders in the mental and behavioral category mood disorders and drug use account for more than sixty three percent of the total in the mental and behavioral disorders category (Young,2018).”
The Mental Health Parity and Addition Act of 2008
The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) states that large health group plans cannot enforce annual or lifetime dollar amount limits on mental health benefits (CMS.gov, 2019). The law-imposed limitations on insurance companies that offered group health insurance policies and only applied to mental health benefits, not those related to substance use disorders, for example, drug addiction and alcoholism. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act also govern insurance equity for insurance coverage to the degree of determining how long patients can remain in the hospital once admitted for mental health. This act also defined the cost of deductibles, shared cost, and the amount of out of pocket cost the patient is responsible for mental health or surgical services.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which passed in 2010, extended the scope of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity by requiring that state-based insurance companies and private insurance groups to include coverage for mental health and substance use disorders covering medical and surgical benefits. Under the new Mental Health Parity and Addition Act of 2008, the original protection under the act was saved, and new ones were added (CMS.gov, 2019). The new Act requires equality regarding both mental health and substance use, including annual and lifetime dollar limits, financial requirements, and treatment limitations.
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The Mental Health Parity and Addition Act does not require a group policy to offer mental health or substance use benefits, but as an alternative require benefits that are equivalent to medical and surgical benefits when mental health or substance use coverage are offered. It applies to self-funded plans and large group insured health plans. Within this Act, it does not protect those who are insured under individual plans or small groups unless the state law requires them to do so. Almost every state has a mental health parity law that the protection under the law varies, but insurers must provide the same level of benefits to each group, regardless of their issue.
The role of the National Institute of Mental Health
When it comes to mental illness the National Institute of Mental Health plays a big role. The National Institute of Mental Health provide education, statistics, and consumer assistance with mental health and mental health related service. Research shows that mental illnesses are prevalent in the United States and affecting millions of people each year (NIMH ,2018). The National Institute of Mental Health has ongoing research to help link patients to organizations in their respective areas in order to get the assistance they need. The agency also has information on each mental health illness so that consumers can get information on their personal diagnostics. Research for NIMH is currently done at hospitals, universities, and healthcare facilities.
National Institute on Mental Health also works very closely with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), and The Suicide Prevention Network. It is the motto of NIMH to “Transforming the understanding of treatment for mental illness” (NIMH, 2018). There are many agencies that this organization works closely with to ensure patients in need receive the services they need when they need them.
According to (NIMH,2018), National agencies and advocacy and professional organizations have information on finding a mental health professional and sometimes practitioner locators on their websites. Examples include but are not limited to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, etc.
In conclusion, it is the responsibility of society to assist anyone they may encounter with getting the assistance they need for mental health. With such a high rate of the diseases in society today, each one has to help one in order to overcome the high numbers of suicide or police killings due to underlying mental health issues. If you know someone who is suffering from any type of mental health illness be proactive and ask them if you can take them to their appointment to ensure they are being accountable. It is understood that we cannot make each appointment but, sometimes mental health patients just want to know that someone cares.
- Ahmedani B. K. (2011). Mental Health Stigma: Society, Individuals, and the Profession
- Busch S. H. (2013). Implications of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The American journal of psychiatry
- Goodrich, D. E., Kilbourne, A. M., Nord, K. M., & Bauer, M. S. (2013). Mental health collaborative care and its role in primary care settings
- Mhpaea_factsheet. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/cciio/programs-and-initiatives/other-insurance protections/mhpaea_factsheet.html
- NIMH » Home. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
- Young, K. M., & Kroth, P. J. (2018). Sultz & Young’s Health Care USA Understanding Its Organization and Delivery (Ninth ed.). Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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