Cheyenne M. Indiana

Equal Treatment for Mental Illness

Examining the lack of funding and medical coverage available to those who suffer from mental illness.

Dear President,

I am aware that there are many issues that are plaguing our nation, and that even at this very moment new ones are arising. Accordingly, as our President you have the arduous duty to address all of these troubles and work to find a solution, this in and of itself is the reason you have so much of the American people’s trust and admiration. I’m still just a teenager so I don’t have the same amount of knowledge as you, but I have experienced things throughout my 16 years of life. Nevertheless, I have many issues I care about deeply, but the most prominent is how American’s view mental illness and how they treat it as a whole.

Recently, I was diagnosed with severe depression, but I was never really extremely sad; so I didn’t believe it. I had never been properly introduced to what depression was and how it affected the people who had it. So my own health was a mystery to me. This is true for many people nationwide. The lack of mental health awareness in the United States is atrocious, and steps need to be taken to improve the health and well-being of this nation’s people. One in every five children from the ages 13 -18 has, or will have a mental illness at some point in their life. Some are taught about mental health and understand the steps needed to improve their health, but that amount is only a little more than half. Consequently, only 50.6% of 8 to15 year olds will receive mental health treatment. The lack of knowledge of mental illness leads people to misdiagnose what is happening to them and decreases their quality of life. It’s not only children who are lacking the fundamental knowledge they need to protect their health. One in every 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year, and only 41% receive treatment.

However, it is not only a lack of knowledge that leads people to ignore their suspicions, but also the negative reputation that mental illness holds. In America the lack of knowledge about mental health and its treatments leaves people to demonize how it affects those who have been diagnosed. Many people believe that mental illness is nothing more than a gimmick to receive attention and to excuse you from taking responsibility for your actions. While this may be true for a select few individuals, most who have mental illness have went to a specialist and been diagnosed. This negative aura around mental illness leads people to harass or deny those with mental illness; this causes their condition to worsen. Therefore, they lose trust in those around them, and begin to lose faith in themselves. This is especially true in American school systems, 13% of students 14 years or older with a mental illness dropout; the highest rate of any disability group. People believe mental illness is something that cannot be helped, even though most of them stay with you for life, the symptoms can be lessened with medicine and therapy. We are a great nation with many great people, but many also suffer, these people need help and you are the one they place their hopes in. I know the cost of this process will be immense but, we must improve mental health education for this nation and it’s people.

Best wishes for your Presidency