One Advocate’s Recommendations to Rebuild America’s Mental Health System

To build on the first post in this blog and series, I reprint below one pragraph of the article penned by Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum MD May 29, 2014, a veteran psychchiatrist in the US whose opinion I respect highly. His entire article on rebuilding the American mental health system from the US edition of the British newspaper The Guardian is found at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/29/-sp-fix-america-mental-health-system-ideas. I will quote a paragraph on his fifth and last point touching upon the ever contentious issue of funding, since in my view it is the most important issue of all. Without adequate funding and a national resolve to provide for the costs of these human services, the best of recommendations end up gathering dust and never being implemented no matter how rational and ‘spot on’ they may be. Dr. Applebaum’s previous four points in some ways [and this is no criticism] are not all that new; indeed many observers in the mental health professions have put forth similar notions and ideas as have the media professionals covering these issues over the last decade.

From Dr. Applebaum’s article:

“Today, paying for mental health care is nobody’s responsibility. Insurers pay as little as possible, often denying claims on flimsy grounds. States have cut more than $4bn from their mental health budgets in the last six years. The federal government directly contributes only a tiny amount to supporting mental health treatment beyond the coverage it provides through Medicare and Medicaid. A joint federal-state commitment is needed to funding the infrastructure of a care system, while insurers’ feet are held to fire to make certain they live up their obligations under the Mental Health Parity Act.”

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