Mental Illness in America
How Do We Address a Growing Problem?
National Issues Forums Institute
Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem?
One in five Americans will have mental health problems in any given year. Unaddressed mental illness hurts individuals and their families and results in lost productivity. In rare cases, it can result in violence.
This issue guide presents a framework that asks: How can we reduce the impact of mental illness in America?
The issue guide presents three options for consideration:
Put safety first
This option holds that more preventive action is necessary to deal with mentally ill individuals who are potentially dangerous to themselves or others. We should identify those who need help and intervene where necessary to prevent them from harming themselves and others. These individuals should be sought out and their needs addressed.
Ensure mental health services are available to all who need them
This option holds that people should be encouraged to take control over their own mental health and be provided the tools to do so. We should make sure that everyone who wishes can get the needed help.
Let people plot their own course
This option holds that we should not rely on so many medical approaches. We should reduce our dependence on drugs and allow people the freedom to plot their own course to healthy lives. In many cases, simple changes to lifestyle can improve mental health.