Mental Illness, Media, and the Health Care System

Mental illness and Mental Health Care: Broken System or Not

Posted Jan 30, 2014

Mental illness has been in the press frequently over the past year. Media coverage have highlighted the struggle that many individuals and families face daily such as mass shooting (at schools and public venues) and more recently a 60 minutes special on Creigh Deeds, Virginia Senator, on challenges faced by the mental health system.   

In the United States, over 9 million people struggle with severe mental illness (approximately 4.1% of the adults ages 18 or older). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), only about half of those receive the necessary treatment. Lack of treatment could be related to a number of issues such as lack of insurance coverage or stigmatizing beliefs. I’ve previously discussed the impact of stigma in another blog post

In her upcoming book, Surrounded By Madness: A Memoir of Mental Illness and Family Secrets, Dr. Rachel Pruchno (Doctor of Philosophy) shares here story of dealing with mental illness from the perspective of a mother and daughter. Serious mental illness may include severe depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder. Mental illness is not something new and it impacts all of us in some way.  Dr. Pruchno discusses how individuals “fight the indignities of a healthcare system that is often unresponsive and uncaring.” 

So what are your thoughts on the mental health system? Have they failed you and your family? What would it take to fix a broken system? 

The following resources may be helpful to you and your family to locate services 


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Copyright Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D. 2014