The mystery behind the calamity that took place in Newtown is still unknown and no final conclusion can be drawn on reasons behind the incident. Detailed discussion and studies have spotlighted very cruel reality about the overall health setup in America. The system is not fashioned in an appropriate manner to deliver quality health facilities to patients. Coordination level is very low between the care department and agencies working in the law, education, disability, and welfare programs for children. These two sectors work against the interest of each other. Many different type of behavioral tactics are been used by the professionals in a complete new manner on affected child with assurance of the positive results.
Many cases have been reported where the families are tackling extensively aggressive and undisciplined children and there is no place for their help and counseling. No support plans and coordination services are provided so as to cope up with such problems. A very limited number of professionally trained psychiatrists are available in the country to help out mentally retarded people. A recently done survey has shown that estimated required number of professionals is around 20,000 whereas only 7500 are actively working. The compensation is continuously falling short in supply for services provided in mental health sector .
There are numerous diseases which are frequently found and reported among the children in America and these diseases mostly result from immense pressure and depression on minds of children due to fears of being unsafe at home and school. Many children tend to suffer developmental defects and intellectual impairment. There is noticeable overlapping between the intellectual defects and autism.
The diagnosis stage is the most crucial part of complete treatment process as it determines the level of treatment provided to patient and how professionals will prioritize the child problem. Proper and appropriate diagnosis of problem plays a pivotal role in deciding the academics, medical, legal and welfare concerns of the child. The important pillar of the health system is funding provided to incorporate best and latest equipment. Major decline in funding started in 1970’s. At present a serious agreement has to take place between the president and the congress on budget allocation to health sector. Otherwise a large number of children will be deprived of the health care facilities and many will not receive early treatment services that can significantly reduce disorder and can safe children from lengthy treatments and prolonged care. Many of the important health supporter agencies have also been targeted that has ultimately deprived half of the population from health facilities.
Recently many arbitrary agencies are pushing the parents of affected children to raise their voices to government and also to leave their children at the mercy of state so as to get the treatment privilege. The estimation of such cases was last carried out in the year 2001 and 12000 officially reported children were part of such campaign. Suitable measures were later taken to reduce this number. A renowned doctor Bruce Perry narrated the dire health situation as a big calamity for the nation .He used to receive a large number of phone calls from people belonging to different social class reporting about the non-availability of health assistance for their children.
The prevailing situation is so worst that despite having insurance no one is able to receive proper treatment by a qualified doctor. A well-known doctor working at NAMI says that limited number of psychiatrist depicts that most of the families would have to wait for month in order to get their turn in queue and many of them have to travel long distance in order to get treatment of mental and emotional disturbance in young lot. The biggest dilemma is to face inadequate handling of the illness after having all other difficulties and problems. In majority cases if assessment has been done well then treatment would become a greater challenge thereafter. Many of the recommended drugs are not well studied in children and turn up with many side effects and everlasting complications in children .
The most challenging part is to handle cases in which drugs are not recommended and only through behavioral modification the whole treatment is to be done. There are no standards available to measure the effectiveness of different behavioral therapies which make it almost difficult to gauge the outputs and evaluation of approaches being used in the treatment process. Families are needed to be given proper counseling and guidance in order to facilitate their understanding towards the possible problems and also to spread awareness among masses to use right option to fight back with the diseases .In this regard NAMI started to publish a complete guideline in form of a booklet for the families so as to provide maximum knowledge and treatment options to families. This helped the families to sort out which agency to consult for which problem. Like some illnesses are related to academics therefore any child with such impairment can be treated through IDEA and education department in order to facilitate the issues.
Apart from above mentioned issues in heath sector the most struggling phase comes for the parents with highly affected children when they become helpless in finding alternative option for their children who are no longer entitled to receive involuntary treatment. Children with severe mental disorders become a serious threat to society and to their own lives. States in America vary in their set of policies to handle exceptional cases and in most cases parents have no right to force the concerned authorities for aid and help.
The famous Paul Wellstone’s Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of year 2008 dictates that all health plans related to groups provide suitable mental health as well as benefits related to substance disorders which must be comparable to the benefits offered to various other patients of surgical and medical procedures. The same legislation renews while expanding the provisions of existing Mental Health Parity Act of 1996. This law required annual as well as lifetime financial equity in respect of benefits related to mental health. Furthermore, this law enforces parity in the treatment limits while expanding all the equity provisions provided to any addiction service. Till the year 2008 all the insurance companies were found using loopholes in the policies and, though they were providing some financial equity, these companies mostly sought some way to work around law by applying various types of unequal co-payments and even setting limits based on the duration in terms of days spent out-patient or in-patient treatment facilities.
According to the United State Census Bureau, till the year 2009 US had about 307,006,550 number of people living within the country, which makes up approximately 75.5% of the 18 or older population. This figure translates to about 231,789,945 adults. By using the estimate percentage of 26.2% of adults which were 18 years or older suffering from any kind of mental disorder during a specific year, it translates into about 60.7 million of adults. However, it is believed that the “26.2% of adults” is not a quite close approximation and hence may be considered outdated. By looking at a quite recent data that is based on study on more than nine thousand subjects, the one year prevalence rate in terms of any kind of mental disorder including substance disorder may be about 32.4 percent. By looking at such high numbers with a latest update, it can be concluded that about one out of three Americans suffering from any kind of mental disorder during any year is more than 75 million of American population .
US Mental Health Statistics
There is an inevitable need to design highly integrated policy system in next few years down the road because certain diseases like schizophrenia are deadly dangerous and patients suffering from such disorders have great potential to do violent activities at a highly risky level. Specially mandated court orders should be enforced to provide treatment to such patients. This will reduce the possible crime rate and frequent hospitalization. Complete health insurance for mentally ill people should be ensured and must be treated like other diseases. Hopes are high that by the year 2014 mental treatment will become part of overall health care package. Despite some fruitful efforts a huge gape exist in mental care section and great efforts are needed to properly cure and treat mental disorders.
Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was enacted by federal government during the year 1986. It requires every hospital to treat in emergency departments every emergency case patient while disregarding the ability of the patients to pay for the treatment. This Act was considered a big step for enhancing the nation’s safety including the uninsured population. Any sort of mental patient always present a different challenge for all the hospitals and emergency departments. The mental patients entering emergency departments or hospitals are evaluated carefully for determining their medical conditions. When the metal patient gets stable medically the regional agencies for mental healthcare are contacted in order to evaluate the mental health of the patient. Each one of such patients is evaluated to determine whether he/she is any danger to others and even to themselves and then they are admitted in mental health care facilities accordingly. Generally, mental patient is held for about 72 hours, without requiring any court order. Even though EMTALA positively keeps alive various working-class individuals who are severely injured, the 1986 law does not require the provisions of rehabilitative or preventive care. It also does not subsidize such care while doing nothing to deal with the difficulties present in the mental health care sector of United States. A nonexistence of coverage for mental health of Americans bears noteworthy consequences to the United States’ social and economy system.
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Pear, R. (2008, March 06). House Approves Bill on Mental Health Parity. The New York Times. New York, (NY).
Szalavitz, M. (2012, December 20). America’s Failing Mental Health System: Families Struggle to Find Quality Care. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com: http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/20/americas-failing-mental-health-system-families-struggle-to-find-quality-care/
Weiss, R. (2005, June 07). Study: U.S. Leads In Mental Illness, Lags in Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/06/AR2005060601651.html