Opinion: It’s past time to fix our broken mental health care system

Sarah Darer Littman
Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. A former securities analyst, she’s now an adjunct in the MFA program at WCSU, and enjoys helping young people discover the power of finding their voice as an instructor at the Writopia Lab.

The Task Force to Study the Provision of Behavioral Health Services for Young Adults released its report earlier this week. I underlined one sentence on page iii, several times in red: “The behavioral health care system is not user-friendly for those in need.”

That has got to be the understatement of the year, if not the decade.

I know this from bitter experience, having dealt with it when confronting my own mental health issues. And I know other people who have dealt with it and who fall within the report’s statistic of “10 percent of adolescents and young adults ages 16 to 25 [who] have experienced at least one episode of a major depressive disorder in the past year.”

During this person’s major depressive episode last year, I emailed my state representative, Fred Camillo, to tell him about the difficulties people are having in finding an intensive outpatient treatment placement in a timely fashion, even with private insurance.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


One response to “Opinion: It’s past time to fix our broken mental health care system”

  1. Suzanne

    I think the Mental Health System is going to be crying for help for a long, long time. In spite of the fact that mental disease is simply a differently wired brain and can be treated like similar chronic diseases, there exists stigma as well as insurance companies who will make people who are ill fight for their benefits and, I believe with mental health in particular, hope they just go away and give up.
    This leaves people with little reserve and equanimity, with brain imbalance, at the mercy of a broken health care system barely able to function for the patients they are supposed to be serving.
    I, like this author, am fortunate to have good insurance and an understanding physician. However, that physician, while very good at his job, does not accept insurance. This is not unusual in the mental health field.
    I have often wondered what people do that do not have mental health parity (the author is right – that can be put down as one of the cruelest jokes in government.) I have found out about quite a few individuals who do not get effective care. They are left to a life of suffering, trying to slog through jobs, driving, shopping, the daily trappings of living a life.
    It is brutal. Apparently, these insurance companies just don’t care preferring to re-direct benefits to CEO’s, a long standing issue that is unconscionable.
    I know that diabetes and heart disease are not treated in similar fashion. Consciousness must change: the insurance companies, mental health services and MD’s just need to move up a little higher on the human spectrum. Not a single member of anyone of these groups has never not known a headache, a stressful day or a time when their thoughts were distracted. Just think of these conditions on steroids and you have a brain that is compromised.
    Effective mental health treatment is a lot more effective than feigning ignorance and neglect of it. Those that receive appropriate care will contribute to the tax roles and to society in positive ways while not having to lean so hard on an overtaxed healthcare system.
    Insurance should cover it, CEO’s should rescind some of those big bucks and the re-adjustment of care to the mentally ill should be corrected – it is long overdue.

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