Without proper resources and support systems, these people are at high risk for ending up in the country’s jails, prisons, homeless shelters, on city streets, and, too often, in the morgue.Even if we vote or choose to ignore the problem through reduced funding, decentralized resources, and archaic treatment, it’s an issue that won’t resolve itself.However, only about a third of those estimated costs actually go toward treatment.
Inmates should be given equal access to quality mental health care in order to give them a fair shot at making a recovery and reintegrating into society, which many studies have shown would lower recidivism and thus the burden on taxpayers.
Until better alternatives come about, prison time should be used as an opportunity for healing and transformation.
This was the last piece of legislation President Kennedy signed just weeks before his assassination, and while it ushered in a newfound optimism toward mental health care, its vision was never fully realized.
Regrettably, most of the necessary support for the proposed community mental health facilities was never provided, resulting in less than half of these centers being constructed and many people getting lost in the transition from state facilities to community-based facilities.
Now that you’ve read about some of the problems, let’s talk solutions.
Here are four suggestions we believe would go a long way toward fixing the mental health care system: Mental health concerns are estimated to cost the United States more than 4 billion each year.
With increased budgets, people would have more access to care and be less likely to end up in emergency rooms, jails and prisons, homeless shelters, on the streets, or worse.
Furthermore, many who need treatment and actually receive it will likely recover completely or be able to control symptoms enough to contribute to the economy by returning to work or by volunteering their time or services.
The real cost to society as a whole is significantly higher, as this total doesn’t include the cost of incarceration or lost earnings for caregivers.
Despite the high cost to the country, mental health budgets are usually among the first to be cut in times of economic hardship.