Mental Poverty: The degradation of the mental health in America

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In the United States mental health is avoided by political and societal elites. Mental health should be a priority to combat the cyclical nature of poverty, drug addiction, and mental illness. The underprivileged are disproportionately affected by mental illnesses. Due to the Affordable Care Act, states are in a position to expand Medicaid and thus mental healthcare to those that need it most. Without the support of state legislatures though, many of the poorest Americans are not afforded amenities and remain in poverty, deprived of healthcare. The states have the power to alleviate some of the effects of mental illness and poverty; the Medicaid expansion is bleeding out in states dominated by partisan politics. The Medicaid expansion is not sufficient to meet the needs of impoverished uninsured citizens with mental illnesses. When the Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v Sebelius that the requirement for most uninsured Americans to buy insurance was constitutional, it also ruled that the states did not have to expand Medicaid to continue receiving federal funds for their existing programs.1 In what has been an unexpected partisan impasse, 23 states have not expanded Medicaid as of this minute. The longer the states voluntarily choose to not accept federal funding for Medicaid, the greater impoverished uninsured will suffer. In a study done that examined three states where Medicaid was expanded from 1997-2007, researchers concluded that mortality for all ages and causes was reduced by an average of 19.6 deaths per 100,000 individuals each year. 2 The scale has increased; 5 million people, largely from Black and Latino communities will be denied health insurance.3 If using the numbers compiled in the previous study, 980 people will die a... ... middle of paper ... ...vedberg, P., & Svensson, B. (2013). Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes Towards People with Mental Illness: Do They Differ from Attitudes Held by People with Mental Illness?, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 48–54 14: Clement, S. et al. 'What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help-seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies' Psychological Medicine 15: Sareen J, Jagdeo A, Cox BJ et al: Perceived barriers to mental health service utilization in the United States, Ontario, and the Netherlands. Psychiatric Services 58:357–364, 2007 16: Center for Mental Health Services. (2001). Mental health: Culture, race, and ethnicity: A supplement to mental health: A report of the surgeon general. rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, office of the Surgeon General.
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