Mental health must be considered the foundation of public health of any country or state. Compared to the awareness about physical disorders and injuries, there is not much awareness among people about the prevalence of mental health problems, their association with substance abuse and the ways of recovery from mental illnesses or co-occurring disorders.
Mental illness is a major health concern in the United States. A recent report released in January 2017 by the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health, revealed how the condition of the mental health system is worsening in Texas. Symptoms of emotional disorders are snowballing into grievous psychological disasters, with thousands of people in Texas unable to access mental health care when needed. Factors exacerbating the mental health problem of Texas include unwarranted downsizing of the budget, closing down of hospitals and huge gaps in the mental health workforce that have caused irreparable harm to the system.
Looking at the critical situation the report said, “Because mental health affects so many segments of our daily lives (i.e. education, medical care, health insurance, criminal justice, homelessness, etc.), it is absolutely one of the most critical areas of concern facing Texas today.” The Texas mental health system needs to be overhauled with effective steps needed to prevent further deterioration. The warning comes in the aftermath of information about thousands of Texans being forced into county jails, as they could not be placed in recovery centers or outpatient treatment programs for mental disorders.
Incarcerating the mentally ill creates problems that not only impact the state’s criminal justice system but also results in wastage of manpower coupled with burgeoning costs, a maximum percentage of which is currently borne by counties and cities. To draw attention to the issue of increasing number of mentally ill people being prosecuted and imprisoned, police officers in the state are being trained on ways to recognize and handle mental health issues.
Elucidating on how the lack of mental health professionals led to law enforcement officials taking their place, Waco police sergeant W. Patrick Swanton said, “It is a nightmare for law enforcement. We are first responders and by nature are the first people called to deal with a crisis, but we are not doctors and we should not be the people who have to deal with it, but when funds were cut, we were the only ones left. Our officers deal with (mental health) issues constantly every day.”
According to details shared by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), roughly 18.5 percent people in the U.S. live with mental illnesses during any given year. Moreover, an estimated 9.8 million Americans are affected by a serious mental illness that debilitates their normal way of living. The grievousness of psychological distress can be understood from the fact that 46 percent of the population in the U.S. is suffering from serious mental illness and or substance abuse disorder problems according to the NAMI.
There is constant pressure on law enforcement officials, the judiciary, local mental health authorities, community health care providers and mental health advocacy groups to come forward to provide help to people with mental problems. The members of the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health stressed on the dire need to urgently fix the mental health system of the state, considering the menace mental illnesses are posing to its people. Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus said, “The opportunity to improve our mental health system this year is real and it’s important. A smarter approach to mental health will improve treatment and care while saving taxpayers money.”
Lack of timely treatment can worsen the condition of the mentally ill and raise the risk of them resorting to various addictive substances, including drugs and alcohol. Clinicians must question their patients addicted to drugs about their mental state because that might have led them to use drugs. Such patients must be recommended for treatment at dual diagnosis rehab centers to ensure that they are treated for comorbidity of mental illnesses and addiction.
Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, specializes in treating all kinds of co-occurring conditions. The dual diagnosis treatment centers in Texas help in the quick recovery of patients availing necessary treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about residential dual diagnosis treatment centers in the U.S.
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