Mental Healthcare: My Story
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Mental health is often ignored and forgotten when the topic of healthcare is brought up. This is quite worrisome since studies have shown that 1 in 5 American adults experience mental illness. The mental healthcare system in the US is severely lacking and is not able to provide the care Americans need. This lack of affordable and easily available mental healthcare has affected many Americans that have needed help, including me.
I have suffered from mental illness for many long, horrible years. I have had depressive episodes that left me immobile in bed for months on end and trauma that has led to PTSD, anxiety, and recklessness. Despite clearly needing professional care for my mental illness, I was not able to receive help for years. My family was not able to afford therapy and we did not qualify for Medicaid, despite being a low-income family of six. For years I suffered immensely with no help from a much needed professional. It was not until recently that I was able to receive Medicaid and afford the therapy I needed. I only received Medicaid because my father was unemployed and we had no income. Even if my family was unable to afford treatment for years because of our income situation, it took a pandemic and sudden unemployment for the government to offer the help I needed for years.
My situation is unfortunately common in the US. Many families and individuals are unable to afford mental healthcare and have to suffer alone. The National Council for Behavioral Health states that 1 out of 4 Americans reported having to choose between getting mental health treatment and paying for daily necessities. Low-income Americans are left feeling hopeless about their mental health situation because of their inability to afford mental healthcare and the insufficient and flawed mental healthcare system in the US.
Acknowledging mental health when talking about health care in the US is vital. Mental illness can be as damaging, sometimes even more so, as physical illness. Expanding our healthcare system and giving mentally ill Americans the help they need should not be delayed any longer.