Mental Health System- State of Affairs

TrappedIs the mental health system broken in the United States? Let me pose some questions.
1. Why do many insurance plans not cover mental health disorders.
Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Grief Reaction, PTSD and others can not be used as a primary diagnosis for billing purposes in these situations. What I don’t know if the Affordable Care Act (Obahma Care) addresses this. Often our patients cannot afford the costs associated with seeking specialty care and counseling. However, their copay for primary care visits is affordable. This leaves providers in a precarious position of treating patients beyond their comfort level while doing what is in the best interest of their patients.
2. Why is there a separate Mental Health System? Why isn’t it simply part of the Health Care System?
My chiropractor has developed a great wellness center. He even has a relationship with counseling services. The counselors are located right in his office. The rooms they use are tastefully decorated and lit with soft lighting. Combining the wellness of the body and the mind. Not incorporating the mental health system fully into the health care system and visa versa puts a fence that patients must cross to get the services they need. Besides razor wire lining the top of this fence, signs on it read, “STIGMA”, “SHAME”, “IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD”, “DID YOU CALL THE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES NUMBER ON YOUR INSURANCE CARD”, “TRY TO GET OVER THIS WALL AT YOUR OWN RISK”, “DANGER”.
I have worked in offices in the past that had counseling services in house. I found this extremely useful. I would like to see this in my office. Better yet, an on sight counselor and psychiatrist. Awesome.
During the birth of the Mental Health System in the United States, depression, psychosis, and other disorders were poorly understood. Shame, fear, and misunderstanding led to the development of a separate system altogether. One that is at time difficult to manage and understand by those who need it the most.
I propose that that the system is not broken, it works to a degree and helps countless people every day. I do wish that the health care and mental health care systems possessed integration and cohesiveness while caring for the needs of our patients.

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