Mental Health Essay

1180 Words5 Pages
Mental health is a crucial part of our being and has a profound effect on how we live our lives. It determines how we socialize, how we reason, how we deal with our emotions, and how we handle stress; and when impaired and/or neglected, it can have crippling effects on the way in which we function on a cognitive or even physical level. Anyone can become susceptible to mental illness or compromised mental well-being. However, throughout history mental health has often been overlooked by society and mental illness, in particular, has been long stigmatized. This has left many of those affected untreated, poorly treated, destitute, and even outcast from society. Through education and the changing attitudes of society, mental health treatment has undergone several major changes over the past few centuries. Two movements which have played major roles in how the mentally ill obtained access to care were institutionalization and deinstitutionalization. Likewise, the level of access to mental health services has varied as different social and health policies have been implemented. The most recent such policy has been the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as the ACA), which currently faces repeal at the hands of our new administration. With that said, this body of research sets out to examine how access to health care has changed since deinstitutionalization, and how the repeal of the ACA could change its current state. During the early 19th century, most of the mentally ill resided in insane asylums, some of which were publicly funded and others privately funded (Dowdall, 1999). These facilities provided “custodial care”, meaning they served as supervised shelter or confinement, rather than a source of effe... ... middle of paper ... ...e needed resources (Ngui, 2010). Studies have found that most inmates were uneducated, with little to no job skills, and therefore economically disadvantaged (Daniel, 2007). Up to 64% of the jail population suffered from mental illness (DiPietro & Klingenmaier, 2013). About 70% of the inmate population also suffer from substance abuse disorders (Daniel, 2007). In essence, a vast amount of the mentally ill population were left without access to mental healthcare post deinstitutionalization and adversely, the prison system has replaced the mental institutions of yesterday. DiPietro & Klingenmaier (2013) go on to disclose that almost 90% of the prison population are in fact uninsured. Needless to say, the prison system is not an atmosphere equipped to treat nor rehabilitate the mentally ill. If anything, such an environment is more likely to worsen one’s mental health.

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