Dear Next President,
The mentally ill are probably the most misunderstood and social inept. It ranks from common ADHD or ADD to depression, anxiety disorders, to ranging to maladies such as schizophrenia or extreme personality disorder. There used to be an extreme stigma to these, so strong, it was looked upon as a crime and it was something to be ashamed and shamefaced about. They were shielded from the world. It was an anti-social behaviorism and was brought upon by poor upbringing or they were just cursed with a damning disease. Now that they are accepted into society and are generalized into today's world, there are still misapprehensions and stigmas for those that are mentally ill which results in a lack of getting to understand them to help our own citizens. Mental illnesses are even found in serious criminals that we still strive to understand and we could if there were not biased stigmas still held against them. Because of their depiction in today’s society and the clear discrimination towards the mentally ill, they are tended to be segregated and shut away from society, as most leave them subject to scrutiny and abuse and delay them to seek help. Our lack of understanding and knowledge about the mentally ill vacates them to being a target for police, job owners, etc. The government has spent money on research to focus largely on medical care for a troubled brain instead of reform in the social world and trying to comprehend what may go through these minds.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—10 million, or 4.2%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia. 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder. 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias and among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness. What about how it affects our society and what happens when there is a lack of treatment and attention and how it affect America solely? An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have a recent history of a mental health condition. 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness. Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness 62.9% received mental health services in the past year. Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions. Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14–21 and older who are served by special education dropout—the highest dropout rate of any disability group. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and more than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition as well as each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
We look at these stats as just another"problem" with America and it could very well be "solved" with medical research but it takes more than that. It takes money put into social interaction studies so these statistics can die out and we can un-stigmatize the mentally ill and put them back into a working society where they are guaranteed safety from the police, who needs the social research as part of their training to identify who they are dealing with (someone who is mentally ill and someone who is not) so they do not make the wrong decisions on what to do and so the mentally ill are not segregated because of their differences. These differences can very well be overcome if we take the time and attention to be focused on their needs. If the price is high we have to pay. If the scores are low we have to push. If the problem is big we have to solve it.